Charismatic Confusion Over Knowing The Will of God – Part One

15 03 2012

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

Discernment Ministries International

Charismatic Confusion Over Knowing The Will of God

Part One

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 Copyright © 2012 Robert S. Liichow

 

End Notes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

8. Ibid. p. 50

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

16. Ibid, p. 86

17. Ibid . 65

18. Ibid p. 88

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

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

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





THE APOSTOLIC AND PROPHETIC MOVEMENT

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

 Discernment Ministries International

 THE APOSTOLIC AND PROPHETIC MOVEMENT

By Keith Gibson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 Issues and Concern

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

 The Scriptures

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

 Inspiration and Inerrancy

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

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

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

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

 Sufficiency

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

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

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

 Perspicuity

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

 The Decline of Doctrine

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 The Nature of God and the Person of Christ

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

 The Weak God

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

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

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

 The Nature of Christ

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

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

 Conclusion

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

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

 

Copyright © 2012 Keith Gibson

 

End Notes

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

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

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

4. Op. Cit. Hamon page 57

5. Ibid page 59

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

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

9. Ibid page 153

10. Ibid page 177

11. Ibid page 124

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

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

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

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

16. Ibid page 63

17. Ibid page 77

18. Op. Cit Bolz page 73

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

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

__________________________________________________

About the Author

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

 Solid Ground Christian Books 6749 Remington Circle Pelham, Alabama 35124

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

 





“Delivered” (Oh Really?)

31 03 2011
Truth Matters Newsletters – March 2011 – Vol. 16 Issue 3 – “Delivered” (Oh really?) – By Rev. Robert Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

“Delivered” (Oh Really?)

Rev. Bob Liichow

A few weeks ago I was watching the 700 Club (1) and Pat Robertson was interviewing a woman who was recounting her visit to both heaven and hell. Being a researcher of such accounts I listened intently to what she had to say. After the interview I went online to begin to do some initial research on this latest visionary by the name of Mrs. Tamara Laroux. She is supposed to serve as a pastor, but thus far I can find no church affiliation nor can I locate any information on her biblical education (or any education for that matter). This much is known, she has authored a book entitled “Delivered, A Death-Defying Journey into Heaven and Hell.” Sounds pretty exciting! DMI purchased a copy of the book (used, thankfully) and what follows is her divine revelation of heaven and hell.

The very first inkling of where she was going to take the reader was revealed in her opening prayer on page 9: “I believe and desire that all who choose to have faith in You will be set free from all that is keeping them bound, from every addiction, bad habit and root of destruction.” (2)

Members of the International Order of Heresy-Hunters (IOHH) (3) see her erroneous doctrinal stance immediately, being highly motivated heresiologists. No doubt you, our esteemed readers no doubt caught it too. “All who choose to have faith in You” is problematic because it indicates that she does not have a good grasp of the doctrine of salvation.

All that the Father giveth me shall come to me: and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. John 6:27

Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and [that] your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you. John 15:16

For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. Eph. 4:1-6

It is very clear from Genesis to the Revelation of Jesus Christ that it is God who does the choosing and not man. If it were left up to man to decide or choose to have faith in Jesus Christ then NO ONE would ever be saved.

What then? Are we better than they? Not at all. For we have previously charged both Jews and Greeks that they are all under sin. As it is written: “There is none righteous, no, not one; there is none who understands; there is none who seeks after God. They have all gone out of the way, they have together become unprofitable; there is none who does good, no, not one.” Romans 3:9-10

The lost man hates God, hates the light (John 3:20) and is spiritually dead (Eph. 2:1) and is incapable of understanding spiritual truth apart from God’s grace (1 Cor. 2:14). I could spend the entire issue on why it is God who does the electing unto salvation, but that is not the point here. What we should immediately know about Tamara is that she wrongly believes in what is called “decision theology,” as opposed to the biblical position of “sovereign grace.” (4)

This was the first alarm bell to ring as I began to read her short screed. Next I noted that some of her statement was couched in Word of Faith code words (my suspicions were confirmed on virtually every following page) “I believe and declare” the old Job 22:28 gambit “Thou shalt also decree a thing, and it shall be established unto thee: and the light shall shine upon thy ways.” As a confessional Lutheran I too “believe and confess” but that is different than believing and decreeing things into existence, which Laroux later tells us is possible.

After her opening prayer and comments she begins her tale of initial woe by telling us what a miserable teenager she was. She hated herself, no one understood her, she was depressed and suffered from a very poor self-image and had zero self-esteem. Tamara was the “victim” of a broken home, divorced parents, living with her mom and step-dad in a blended family.

Her book is written about what she experienced in 1985 as a teenager in high school. It seems that it has taken her 25 years to write about this event and begin to share it. Tamara went to church off and on her entire life (p. 14) but she really did not know anything about God. One thing that did stick in her mind was that God was a forgiving God.

On September 30, 1985 Laroux claims to have taken a 38 caliber pistol from her mother’s bedside table and went into the shower stall intending to blow her brains out:

I stepped into the shower while continuing my distressed plea. I knelt down on my knees and placed the gun to my head. Bringing my sobs under control, I took a deep breath and then calmly asked Jesus for forgiveness one last time. A still, small voice told me to remove the gun from my head and place it at my chest. I argued with this voice…the still small voice replied ever so gently and explained to me that it would be easier on my family to find me this way and that I wouldn’t miss because I knew the exact location of my heart…Cautiously, I placed the gun on the left side of my chest and pointed it straight for my heart. Gently placing my finger on the trigger, and before I pulled it, the ignited with a sudden discharge. (5)

Stop the press! Earlier Tamara wrote that she went to church “off and on” but did not know God. She does not at this point prior to shooting herself ever mentioning anything about Jesus Christ, knowing Him, loving Him, belonging to Him. Yet now, as she prepared to blow her brains out, she asks Jesus for forgiveness. Why would an admitted unbeliever do this? What is more incredible is that she wants the reader to believe that the Holy Spirit )the still small voice of 1 Kings 19:13) speaks gently to her advising her to not blow her brains out, just blow her heart out her back, that will be easier on her folks! The voice of the Lord does not tell her that she is loved by God, nor does it tell her that killing herself is a sin, nor does it plead with her to stop and consider her life. On the contrary, “God” tells her to simply move the gun lower. I am sorry my friend that is NOT something the God of the Bible would say. That makes as much sense as this scenario: King David—”I’m going to sleep with Bathsheba woo-woo.” Still Small Voice — “David, use a condom,” I don’t think so. Tamara goes on to tell us that she knows where her heart is, points the gun at the spot and somehow misses when the gun goes off. (6)

Breathing in my last breath, I closed my eyes as death gripped my soul. As I left my body, I began traveling faster than the speed of light and my entire being was plagued with the sensation of falling…Suddenly, an indescribable explosion of indescribable pain erupted on the inside of me…No human has ever come even close to experiencing this kind of pain; it was agony in its purest form! That terrifying burning sensation cannot be expressed in words and it was a pain so fierce that it had no earthly correlation. (7)

She said “death gripped her soul.” The Bible says it is appointed unto man ONCE to die and then the judgment (Hebrews 9:27). It may seem picky on my part, but I am so tired of these visionaries who die and get a second bite at the apple {a little legal lingo}. Especially those accounts where the visionary gets saved while on their way to or in hell, simply read Kenneth Hagin’s book I Believe In Visions where he shares his salvation account after dying THREE TIMES (3)!

Next she makes it clear that she experienced suffering and pain of the likes that “no human has ever comes even close to experiencing.” How would she know? She would have to have experienced all of humanities suffering in order to make such a grandiose claim. I hope she would acknowledge that Jesus suffered more than she did.

My agonizing cry for forgiveness turned into a hideous, violent scream as I burned with an unquenchable acidic fire that is beyond expression. It was at that exact moment that I realized I was banished completely and eternally from the presence of the one true God! I realized my soul had been transformed into a being of sin and death. I had actually become total sin and my eyes were opened to the fact that sin is a state of being, not just an act. (8)

Tamara is suffering in hell and then realizes prior to the final judgment that she is eternally damned. It is in hell when she says a lost person’s soul becomes transformed into sin. The biblical fact is that the lost on earth are sinful through and through ergo the need for a “new” heart transplants by our Heavenly Father (Exe. 36:26) at conversion. She is correct in saying that in hell she realizes that sin (sinner) is what the lost are (not become) in their being as well as in disobedient acts.

Wrenching loneliness surrounded me as I looked across the fiery pit and saw hundreds upon hundreds of souls (too many to count) just like me screaming in agony…My knowledge was made perfect. Revelation of truth and pure wisdom became part of me. I no longer had questions because infinite knowledge of life, creation, and all of existence down to the last detail was known to all. (9)

In hell according to Tamara the damned become omniscient. Her knowledge was made perfect regarding all of existence! In Luke 16:24 I guess the unknown Mr. Richman forgot he knew everything perfectly, why else would he ask Lazarus to do something he (Mr. Richman) already knew was not possible? Really, with infinite knowledge why ask Abraham anything at all? Her statements contradict what Jesus Himself has taught in the Bible.

Let’s posit what she says is true, then how does she explain Rev. 6:10 where we read of the souls crying out to God? If the damned have perfect knowledge then surely the sainted martyrs would have at least equal access into omnipotence, which the text says they do not due to their questions.

Tamara goes on to reveal how in hell everyone knows everything about everyone (no duh, didn’t she just tell us she had perfect knowledge?) —

We knew we were in this place because we were foolish and chose not to hear and do what was right according to God’s Word. We had made this choice out of deceit, yet the effect of our ignorance was eternal, never to end.

There she goes again with the decision theology. She places man’s eternal destiny squarely in the hands of man. In her mind people are faced with a decision. Either one decides for Jesus, if not, then they have chosen Satan. She forgets the biblical fact that all humanity (apart from Jesus Christ) starts off in Satan’s kingdom. No one “chooses” Satan, they already belong to him at birth! Again, God does the choosing. The point of biblical contention regarding divine election revolves around the question of “why some and not others.” One of the many things I respect about Confessional Lutheranism is that we do not attempt to answer that question. We know the bible teaches God elects, who and why are not revealed. All the Christian can do is simply bow his her head and accept one of the mysteries of our God.

I saw many different chambers; however, my movement was restricted as I tried to turn and look to see the details. Behind me was an indescribable creature with dragon-like heads upon his body, and he stood more fierce than anything the earth has ever seen. I was only allowed to see a glimpse of him and for that I am grateful–no eyes have ever seen such a terrifying sight. (11)

Again, she is giving us information not contained in the Bible. This being the case, why should she expect anyone to accept her testimony? Hell biblically is not shown as having “chambers” which contain individual damned souls. I know Betty Baxter revealed seeing these chambers in her book A Divine Revelation of Hell, but the testimony of two liars does not establish a fact.

The next new insight she describes is of some indescribable multi-headed beast, maybe like something out of Daniel 7. Again, there is nothing in the bible that says demons, fallen angels, and evil leprechauns with pitchforks or dragon-like multi-headed beasties torment the damned.

At my screams and cries continued calling out from the darkness, I looked out across the vast expanse and saw all three heavens. I also saw the universe in its entirety. We think it is so large, but it is actually very small compared to the other areas of existence. I saw a great gulf that separates the heavens and the vast deep that has no end. As I looked upon our universe and saw what we call earth, it was magnified as if it was enlarged through a magnifying glass. (12)

Tamara sees all three heavens from her chamber in hell. What is more we are supposed to accept that she also saw the ENTIRE UNIVERSE, which she enlightens us to the reality that our expanding universe of billions of stars is in fact very small. So now we know something else about the location of hell. It is somewhere outside this universe, one has the ability to view all of existence (and know everything at the same time) and somehow be able to focus in on what “we” call planet earth from hell. One would have to be God in order to observe all the vast cosmos at once.

I will readily admit that we do not know the location of hell. We know it is described in one place as outer darkness (Matthew 8:12) in another as a lake of fire (Rev. 20:15) but no hint of Omni-vision (13) or omniscience.

After I viewed all that I was allowed to see, I looked up and saw a huge massive hand that was brighter than any light you can imagine, and it reached down, scooped me up and instantly whisked me away from all torment. (14)

For some unexplained reason, like a good neighbor a giant hand comes down into hell and scoops Tamar up! Instantly she is whisked away from all torment. This super hand takes her to “the heaven where the God of all Creation dwells.” (15)

With my pain and suffering far behind me, I found myself complete and whole, instantly washed from head to toe. The glory there is too exquisite for words. I was not allowed to stay or see anything in detail; I could only travel over it for I was just passing through. (16)

Tamara is suddenly regenerated how and why is not explained to us. There is no mention of faith in Christ, His cross, blood, death or resurrection. She simply found herself washed. Not much glory given to the Savior in this account. The next sentences are some general descriptions of what one would expect of glimpsing heaven. Beautiful colors, unearthly, peace, energy, but nothing more! After a lot of type given to vividly revealing “hell” less than a paragraph on heaven! WHAT A GYP! Even the title of the book is a deception “….Journey Into Heaven and Hell” my foot!

Not given a choice, I left heaven and again watched the expanse pass by in front of me…At that moment, I knew I had a responsibility to tell all God’s people how real Hell is and yet how much our God loves us. (17)

Tamara learns what her purpose is on earth. Her job is to tell God’s people, the Church, how real Hell is and also how much God loves us. Uh, if one is a genuine bible-believing Christian (is there any other kind?) then we already know and believe that hell is real. Secondly, John 3:16 tells us how great the love of our Father is for His people?

But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; they must respond to them.’ Then the rich man said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’ He replied if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’ He replied to him, ‘If they do not respond to Moses and the prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead. Luke 16:29-31

Tamara needs to realize that we have the testimony of the Scriptures, we do not need her alleged insights which either add to the Scriptures or take away from them, and actions which are strongly condemned in the Bible (see Rev. 22:18-21).

Never in my wildest dreams could I know how difficult this would be to accomplish and how hard my enemy would fight to keep me from fulfilling my one true obligation. (18)

I guess Satan has been pretty successful in keeping her from telling the Church about hell and how much God loves us. After all, it has taken her twenty-five (25) years to get this book self-published. From DMI’s research there is no record of any previous ministry on Laroux’s part according to the new blog/website which is very new and still under construction. She has one true obligation; something “special” she is called to do that seems to differ from what the rest of the Church is called to do. Obviously, until recently she has been failing to fulfill her obligation.

I knew I had been given the strength to endure the situation I was facing. I now knew the truth that Jesus is Lord and I immediately accepted Him into my heart and became born again. (19)

Stop the presses again! On page twenty she told us she had been “washed from head to toe” and was made “complete and whole” while hovering somewhere over heaven cupped inside the giant hand. Now she tells us that it was not until she was back in her severely wounded body that she came to a realization of the truth about Jesus (“I now knew the truth”).

What has she based her faith on? Obviously, not the eternal Word of God (Matt. 24:35) nor the foolishness of preaching (1 Cor. 1:21). Her belief seems to have been based on the Gnostic insights she received of hell and what little she saw of heaven. She made the right decision, she received Him into her heart and was born again!

Tamara is then found locked in the bathroom, bleeding out from a 38 caliber gunshot wound to her chest. Her mother calls out for her “In your bathroom, I calmly called out,” (20) It beggars the imagination that she would “calmly” call out anything, weakly yes maybe, painfully without a doubt, but calmly, come on!

I was told that the impact of a .38 revolver at such close range should have exploded my heart or done a lot more damage, and there was no way I should be alive much less be in such a stable physical state…it was only by a true miracle that I was alive. (21)

I have no doubt that God could and can keep someone safe from such harm. Yet there is nothing to convince the reader that she received such a miracle in life apart from her own testimony.

Folks, why should you or I believe her testimony, simply because she said this happened? I am born-again, but I was not born-again yesterday! She could be (1) outright lying, DMI has caught so many SINisters in lies. (2) She had some psychotic break with reality brought on due to the trauma of her self-inflicted wound. All suicides are due in part to some severe mental stress. (3) She is deceived by Satan into thinking she rally experienced what she did. This much is certain she did not go either to hell nor to heaven because her accounts violate the Scriptures.

She did not include one photograph showing the entrance or exit wound left by the bullet. If the wound in a location that is not proper to photograph then how about a nurse’s or doctor’s affidavit attesting to what happened.

What about the testimony of her family?  She had a mother, father, step-father and siblings, how about some statement from them of the account? All she says about reaction of the family is somewhat telling:

Years later, a family member confessed to me that they thought this presence around me was demonic, yet it wasn’t long before they discovered it was truly the presence of God and the unexplainable peace of God. (22)

Her church going family seemed to pick up on something strange about the situation; they thought it was a demonic presence and not a divine one. The desire to commit suicide is from Satan (John 10:10), he is both the Tempter and the Deceiver so they were probably correct in discerning some demonic activity around her in the hospital. As for the unexplainable peace — ever heard of morphine or dilaudid? Let me think a moment, gunshot would to the chest probably equals some very strong pain medication, medication that routinely causes people to experience and see things others do not! Bottom line–no evidence from her family.

Next, we are to believe that she cannot supply any medical records to validate her story. There would be records by the file drawer full. (1) Ambulance records, they came they gave initial treatment and transported her to the hospital. (2) Police records, every gunshot would is reported to the police who create a file on the individual. Why not show a copy of the file? (3) Hospital records. She was admitted to the ER (Emergency Room), had a team of ER staff work to save her life.

A few weeks after leaving the hospital, I returned to my cardiologist’s office for a follow-up visit. He told my mom and me that we didn’t owe him any fee for his service because in his mind he did not do anything for me…I believe this was his way of confessing that my healing was an undeniable miracle! (23)

(4) Her cardiologist supplied no records. It is one thing for him not to charge, but he still had a record of his work and fees for tax purposes and to legally cover himself. If he did not want to charge that is one thing, but the ambulance company, the ER, the hospital itself (she does not state how long she was hospitalized but it was at least 2 weeks for a chest wound) does not “forgive” those type of bills. She does not say they did forgive them, but then she also did not produce any proof of her tale. (5) She was mandated to visit a psychiatrist (p. 28) what about a copy of his bill?

Brothers and sisters I am reminded of when Jesus healed the leper and told the man to go show himself to the priests (Luke 1:44); my point is simply when God does something miraculous in someone’s body the results can be seen and proven.

Keep in mind even if Laroux was to show the world her chest wound and provided full documentation of this “miracle” it still would not override her more serious problem of what she says she saw. Proving that she was shot is one thing, which she fails to do. Proving her experience is biblical is another, again she fails here too. Approximately five (5) pages out of one hundred and three (103) reveal what she says she saw and experienced of hell and heaven. Over 80% of her book is about her journey to becoming more emotionally stable, it has nothing to do with her experience.

Naturally, no book on hell and heaven is complete without some encounter with demons and angels.

After my ‘out-of-body’ experience I had become very sensitive to the spiritual world. The Bible refers to it as a gift of discernment — the ability to detect good from evil…Demons came into my room and manifested themselves. I recognized them as demons because they were beings without physical bodies and emanated intense fear. They attacked me by pinning me down to the bed and choking me! I was terrified and unable to scream. I understood that these demons were trying to actually take my soul and damn me eternally before I was willing to tell the truth about my journey to Hell…He answered me by sending an angel. This angel walked into my room, took my hand and lowered his head as if to pray. Instantly all the evil spirits vanished out of the window of my room. Even in my disobedience, he sent an angel to my bedside. I knew at that very moment I could not keep my experience to myself any longer. (24)

First, there is no gift of discernment: there is the gift of discerning of spirits (1 Cor. 12:8-10). The ability of knowing the difference between good and evil comes from spiritually consuming strong meat (Heb. 5:14) and renewing your mind to God’s Word (Rom. 12:1-3). Such ability comes with spiritual maturity and development it is not simply “plopped” into us mystically.

Several demons come and attack Tamara to keep her from her sacred obligation to tell the Church and hell and God’s love. She knew they ere demons because they did not have physical bodies (neither do angels) and they emanated intense fear. These disembodied spirits held her down on the bed and began to choke her! What was their mission? To damn her eternally, stopping her from ever sharing her vital story (has the Church been enriched by her tale? I know we have not). HOLD IT! Satan and demons do not damn anyone eternally. If they had that type of power then we all would be roasting away in our little private viewing chambers in hell. Satan tempts, he lies, he kills steals and destroys (John 10:10) but in and of himself, he damns no one. We are born lost and sinful before Satan does anything personal to any of us (Psalm 51:5), call it original sin or human depravity.

In the midst of this cosmic conflict she cries out to Jesus for help and He sends an angel who comes in, takes her hand and then suddenly the demons leave via the window. I guess leaving through a wall is more difficult than going through the window. After this encounter Tamara decides to obey God and begin to tell folks about her experience. The above event described took place a couple of years after her experience. After her miracle she went back out into the world and partied down pretty much until these demons came and visited her.

Why did it take Tamara so long to tell others? “…why did it take me so long to tell them and why had I decided to walk in disobedience? They didn’t realize that my brokenness and spiritual immaturity had a lot to do with my disobedience.” (25) She does not explain why it takes another twenty plus years to get around to self-publishing this novel. Let me close with some more pearls of wisdom from lady Laroux:

If all the denominations that profess Christianity really believed that Scripture is all about unconditional love, then we wouldn’t have so man disagreements and divisions among Christians. A huge problem is that most people really don’t even know what they believe. (26)

Can’t we all just get along as Rodney King once asked? No, not until we agree on the truth of God’s Word. The Scripture is not “all about” unconditional love. What a naïve and utterly childish view of the totality of the Bible. Tamara is living proof that she, like most people, does not know what she believes. She may think she is established in the truth and has access to other spiritual data due to her “trip” to hell and skimming of heaven, but her own words condemn her as ignorant and unlearned.

She has failed to realize that it is more blessed to believe and have not seen (John 20:29) — I prefer to place my faith in what God’s Word teaches about heaven and hell as opposed to what I may have seen in some mystic trance. Let us pray for Tamara, that God will indeed open her eyes to His Word and may she be truly delivered from the Word of Faith cult she has embraced. ¨ 

A link to a 700 Club show clip of Tamara Laroux interview:  http://www.cbn.com/media/player/index.aspx?s=/vod/SUE220_TamaraLaroux_022111_WS

 

Copyright ©2011 Robert S. Liichow

End Notes

1. One of my unpleasant duties is to have to watch the religious channels so I can hear what the various charismatic SINisters are promoting as biblical truth.

2. Laroux, Tamara. Delivered A Death-Defying Journey into Heaven and Hell. Xulon Press, p. 9, March 02, 2011.

3. The international Order of Heresy-Hunters (IOHH) is an organization devoted to “Teaching Truth and Exposing Error.” Our membership includes people such as Dr. R.C. Sproul, Dr. H. Wayne House, Dr. Don Matzat, and other apologists. For a mere $25.00 you too can become a member, complete with certificate suitable for framing! Just make a check out to DMI, memo “IOHH membership” and we will enroll you among the ranks of the few, the humble, the heresy-hunters!

4. I am willing to admit that many people may think that “they” made the decision to receive Christ on a certain day at a certain point in time. However, the reality is this: by the time a person has rationally ‘decided’ to walk to aisle, prayed the sinners prayer or whatever, they have already been regenerated by God’s Spirit if they are genuinely children of God. Spiritually dead people cannot and do not make spirutal decisions. So in “time” one may feel they did the deciding but in reality God did it first!

5. Laroux, Tamara. Delivered A Death-Defying Journey into Heaven and Hell. Xulon Press, p. 16 March 02, 2011.

6. S as an aside, we are not told if the bullet exited her back or rattled around inside her. Nor are we given any copies of any medical records of which there would have been plenty.

7. Laroux, Tamara. Delivered A Death-Defying Journey Into Heaven and Hell. Xulon Press, p. 16-17, March 02, 2011

8. Ibid. p. 17. Bold type added for emphasis

9. Ibid. pl 18. Bold type added for emphasis.

10. Ibid. p. 18. Underlining added for emphasis.

11. Ibid. p. 19

12. Ibid. p. 19

13. Omnivision, the ability to see all things both created and uncreated.

14. Laroux, Tamara Delivered A Death-Defying Journey into Heaven and Hell. Xulon Press, p. 20, March 02, 2011

15. Ibid. p. 20

16. Ibid. p. 20

17. Ibid. p. 21

18. Ibid. p. 21

19. Ibid p. 21

20. Ibid. p. 22

21. Ibid p. 23

22. Ibid. p. 25 Double underlining added for emphasis.

23. Ibid p. 28