Spiritual Formation

9 10 2009
Truth Matters Newsletters – January 2007 – Vol. 12 Issue 1 – Spiritual Formation – by Rev. Robert S. Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

Spiritual Formation

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My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you, (Gal 4:19)

Since it is a New Year, and may it be a blessed and happy one to us all in the Body of Christ! It seems only fitting to begin the year off right, spiritually speaking. That means shoring up the fundamental disciplines which will draw us truly closer to our Lord and Savior and thus be more useful to the Master in His purpose.

THE CALL

Becoming Christ-like is not simply an automatic process that occurs in the lives of believers. I have learned over my twenty years of ministry that generally people are either actively growing in Christ, or have stagnated and become complacent with where they think they are in relationship with the Lord. There are those who have backslidden and drifted away from Him altogether. Notice in Gal. 4:19 the strong language that the Apostle Paul uses as he writes to his converts in Galatia. First, we know they are Christians because he addresses them as “my little children” as opposed to a term for a mature child. Here we find Paul again in the spiritual pangs of childbirth for his disciples. Why? Obviously, they had not been developing spiritually as they should have been. (1) Thayer in his Lexicon says “i.e. whose souls I am striving with intense effort and anguish to conform to the minds of Christ.” Being formed into the image of Christ, like childbirth is an arduous, at times, painful lifelong process with the goal of becoming conformed to His very image. The Apostle reminded the believers in Rome when he penned these familiar words regarding God’s eternal purpose for His children:

For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate [to be] conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. (Rom. 8:29)

Every Christian is somewhere along the path of having Christ Jesus formed in them. Some are further along than others. When it comes to spiritual growth and maturity the bottom line is simply this —we can grow as deep into Christ and allow His Spirit to bear bushels of fruit unto the glory of God through our lives….as much as we want, or perhaps better put—will allow Him to produce. Salvation is totally the work of God apart from any and all effort of man. Dr. Martin Luther in his Small Catechism regarding sanctification gives the following answer to the third question in his section concerning the Apostles Creed:

I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ, my Lord, or come to Him; but the Holy Ghost has called me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, Sanctified and kept me in the true faith; even as He calls, gathers, enlightens, and sanctifies the whole Christian Church on earth, and keeps it with Jesus Christ in the one true faith; in which Christian Church He forgives daily and richly all sins to me and all believers, and at the last day will raise up me and all the dead, and will give to me and to all believers in Christ everlasting life. This is most certainly true. (2)

Sanctification is also the work of God, but in this area He provides the means whereby we may grow, but it is up to us to partake of these means of grace in order to grow thereby.

As new born babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: (1 Peter 2:2).

Spiritual growth comes by the desire within each of our hearts to grow more and more into the image of Christ. You can be seventy years old, never missed a Sunday worship service and still be a spiritual infant. (3) On the other hand, you can be a fairly young Christian whose spiritual growth far outstrips those twice his or her age. Why? Because unlike their elders they were not merely hearers of the Word but actually did what was taught to them by faithful men of God.

But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he behold himself, and goeth his way, and straightway fretted what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth [therein], he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed. (James 1:22-25).

So as we consider spiritual formation it is vital to keep in mind two realities. First is what is generally referred to as “positional truth.” This refers to our position in Christ due to His work and His work alone. We are already sanctified by His blood [Heb. 10:10]. God the Father sees us as pure, holy and spotless in Christ. That is our position. The other reality is what is commonly referred to as “experiential truth,” or our experience throughout our spiritual life. The goal of the Christian is to both know God and glorify Him in all we do; (4) this comes when our experience in this life begins to line up with our position in Christ.

This is where the issue of spiritual formation, Christian growth, discipleship, maturity comes into play. How do we go about making what the Bible says is our position a living reality or experience in our daily lives here in a fallen world amidst a fallen people (which includes ourselves)? How do we become, what we really are?

I suppose it really boils down to how bad do we want to grow spiritually? How heavy a price are we willing to pay to be like Christ in this life? Are we willing to mortify our fleshly desire as Paul challenges the Christians of old to do?

For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. (Romans 8:13)

Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: (Col. 3:5)

Paul uses two different words for mortify in these texts. In his letter to the Romans the Greek word for mortify is transliterated thanatoo and it means to render extinct or by death to be liberated from the bond of anything, literally to be made dead in relation to (something). (5) To do such a mighty work as to destroy once and for all certain deeds of the body it takes nothing less than the power of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, better translated the Spirit of Reality (John 16:13). (6)

To the Colossians Paul uses another term for mortify, here he uses the Greek term which is transliterated nekroo. Thayer in his lexicon says of this word that it means to deprive of power or destroy the strength thereof. (7) I heard one preacher say that it meant to “put to death by starvation” which is an accurate description of what Paul is getting at in his admonition to the Colossians.

Spiritual Formation demands much from those who truly seek to become vessels of honor and useful to the Master. I know it is unpopular in many pulpits today, yet the following text stands true:

But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour. If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, [and] prepared unto every good work. (2 Timothy 2:20-21).

Not every Christian is equally useful to our Master (all are equally loved). Who is it that determines who is useful and who is not? The individual believer “if a man therefore purge (ekkatnalpo, cleanse thoroughly) himself from these he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified and meet for the master’s use”! The cleansing is from iniquitous actions mentioned in the previous verse. (see v. 19). From Paul’s two statements we learn a great deal. First and foremost, we note that it is the work of the Spirit that works in us by God’s means of grace to mortify the deeds of our flesh. Secondly, we see that we too have a role to play and are not just passive “pawns.” In fact Paul says that we are co-laborers with God (1Cor. 3:9), although in context he is referring to the Apostles work with God in building the Church I believe it can also be extended to all Christians who are seeking with pure hearts to do God’s will on earth as it is in heaven.

The genuine work of spiritual formation is a joint-effort between God and man (1 Cor. 3:9). The Spirit of Grace working molding (Jer. 18:9) and transforming the sinful, yet willing souls of people made righteous in Christ (2 Cor. 5:21) who have decided to pick up their cross (Matt. 16:24) and follow their Master to Golgotha, the place of death and that from that death true life, bountiful eternal fruit is borne which brings glory to our Father.

Before we launch off into the deep let me emphatically state that in order to grow we must die.

He must increase, but I [must] decrease. (John 3:30)

Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will [my] Father honour. John 12:24,25,26)

In the first text cited John is referring to his own ministerial influence, yet I believe it can also be legitimately applied to our lives too. In order for Christ to “grow” in us, the little Pharisee who sees himself or herself as king or queen of his or her life must decrease. In fact, our Master makes it even more plain by taking something everything around Him understood, a seed. His listeners knew that as long as the seed was not buried in the ground and “died” it would never produce any level of harvest at all. Yet if it would die the result would be new life that brings forth much fruit, i.e. many more seeds which will reproduce and eventually fill the earth with good fruit.

The False Pathways Offered

Sadly, there is a great deal of pseudo-spirituality being offered to the Church that has no basis in Scripture. There is a very obvious reason why there are so many ‘false paths’ beings offered by so many Christian leaders. Many of the “seeker” Christians are beginning to feel the emptiness in their “worship” services. All the hoopla, banners, dancing and shouting are simply not bringing these seekers closer to Jesus. So they are hungry to really grow to know the Lord and unfortunately the enemy, Satan, is more than willing to fill the void he created through their false worship with now false pathways to alleged intimacy with God.

Some of these practices run the gamut of vision quests, sweat lodges, walking in labyrinths to attain inner understanding. Never heard of walking a labyrinth as part of spiritual formation? It is all the “rage” for many in the Church. Here are a few quotes for you to consider:

At its most basic level the labyrinth is a metaphor for the journey to the center of your deepest self and back out into the world with a broadened understanding of who you are.

The most basic metaphor for walking a labyrinth is that of Life’s Journey. Walk the labyrinth while mindful of your life. Envision your life’s goal. Walk to your destiny and see what you learn. Pay attention to the sights and sounds. Do you feel lost at any time? If so, where in the labyrinth did it occur? What does that mean? Do you like one part of the labyrinth more than another? Why? What do the turns represent in your life? Do you resist some turns and like others. When you are outdoors notice subtle changes in the terrain—the ups and downs. Notice any synchronicities such as an overheard word or a bird’s song. Consider all of your experiences in the labyrinth in relation to your life’s journey. What does the labyrinth teach you about your life? (8)

The purpose behind the spiritual disciplines is to bring into harmony the outer expressions of our worship with the inner reality of what we are doing. It is a very dangerous to go through the motions without having a knowledge of the reality of what we are doing. (2 Timothy 3 “having a —form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.”

We can outwardly kneel, cross ourselves, eat the Body and Blood of the Lamb at His table, sing the songs, lift up holy hands, dance and give and all of it be a mere “form” of godliness denying the true power and transforming presence of the Lord Jesus Christ in it all.

It is dangerous because we think we have done something spiritual, yet in actuality all we did was go through the motions and left the congregation feeling more than a little self-righteous. Another example of a commonly followed false path is one that comes to the Church from Rome Catholicism.

Centering or Contemplative Prayer

Centering Prayer is drawn from ancient prayer practices of the Christian contemplative heritage notably the Fathers and Mothers of the Desert, Lectio Divina, (praying the scriptures), The Cloud of Unknowing, St. John of the Cross and St. Teresa of Avila…It was distilled into a simple method of prayer in the 1970’s by three trappist monks, Fr. William Meninger, Fr. Basil Pennington and Abbot Thomas Keating at the Trappist Abbey, St. Joseph’s Abbey in Spencer, Massachusetts. (9)

This obvious quotation comes from the roman Catholic persuasion and there is a renewed interest in the early Roman Catholic mystics and their visions and how they obtained them. Go to any Borders bookstore or Barnes and Nobel and you will find shelves of books on and by various Roman Catholic mystics. Anyone with half sense can see where all the dreams, visions, revelations given to these “saints” and “Popes” have doctrinally brought the Roman Catholic Church today, almost totally bereft of any remnants of the Gospel at all. As we consider a few titles in print it is important to define what mysticism is:

The word “mysticism is derived from the Greek word mustikos, meaning one initiated into the mysteries. Eventually, it was used in Christian circles as the branch of Christian theology that believes in the direct communion of the soul with God. In *pantheistic context it usually refers to one who seeks by contemplation and self-surrender to obtain absorption into the Ultimate. (10)

Allow me to digress, Dr. Norman L. Geisler (who is one of the primary authors of the previous and following quotations) was one of my Professors at Michigan theological Seminary (MTS) and he has written extensively on mysticism {along with just about every other issue facing Christians today, I consider the man to be a genius an I counsel anyone to carefully weigh any of what he teaches}. The article goes on to say:

A Private Religious Experience. Religious experiences are of two basic kinds: general and specific. The first is available to all persons, and the latter are unique to only some…Mystical experiences are private by nature. This does not mean that others cannot have similar experiences. It simply means that the experience is unique to the one having it. Also, the general public does not have such experiences at any time. (11)

The underlined portion hit’s the problem head-on. People can claim to have seen anything, been anywhere yet in each case they are private in nature and thus are subjective and non-verifiable. (12) For example, there is not another living person who can verify Mr. Hagin’s, Jesse Duplanis, Mary K. Baxter’s, Choo Thomas, Roland Buck, Dr. Eby and the other “trips” to heaven or hell these internationally known speakers write and hold conferences on. These authors alone went on the trip and their reports are either accepted or rejected by the Church, sadly tens of thousands believe these unsupported accounts which often contradict the Bible.

Mystical Experience Is Not Objective. By their own admission, the experience mystics have- are not public but private. As such, then, they ate subjective and not objective. But subjective experiences have validity only for the subject experiencing them. Mystical Experiences Are Not Testable. Since mystical experiences are without an objective basis, they are also untestable… (13)

If one is honest the entire charismatic renewal is based in subjective experiences. Whether it is the individual (ecstatic speech) prayer language one receives or the visions given while doing carpet time. (14) are subjective and totally unverifiable.

As you read some of the following titles you will see the obvious emphasis on the mystical, the subjective regarding knowing and fellowshipping with our Lord. You will find most of these books in your local book stores. Each promises means and methods to experience the divine!

Boyd, Gregory A. Seeing is Believing: Experience Jesus Through Imaginative Prayer. Baker 2004

Chryssavgis, John Light Through Darkness: The Orthodox Tradition Orbis, 2004

Allen, Joseph J. Inner Way: Toward a Rebirth of Eastern Christian Spiritual Direction Eerdmans, 1994

Dr. Waal, Esther. Lost in Wonder: Rediscovering the Spiritual Art of Attentiveness. Liturgical Press, 2003

Macquarrie, John Two Worlds Are Ours: An Introduction to Christian Mysticism. Fortress Press, 2004.

Penrose, Mary E. Refreshing Water From Ancient Wells: The Wisdom of Women Mystics. Paulist, 2004

Taylor, Brain. Becoming Christ: Transformation Through Contemplation. Cowley Publications 2002

Cutsinger, James S. Not of This World: A Treasury of Christian Mysticism. Bloomington: World Wisdom, 2003.

From these few titles (I could list over one hundred) we see a common thread, a renewed interest in mysticism. Boyd’s “imaginative prayer” is nothing more than what we called visualization within charismania. Pastor Paul Cho of the largest congregation in the world teaches extensively on visualization which he has termed the “fourth dimension”. (15) Cho would have people believe they can have whatever they want if they can conceptualize it deeply enough. Not to mention that nowhere does the Bible suggest we conjure up in our own minds what Jesus looks like, I.e. create a “Jesus,” then imagine ourselves sitting down with our imagined Jesus and holding a dialog with Him. This is akin to the New Age occult practice of seeking a “spirit guide” to talk with and gain wisdom from.

Currently there is also a renewed interest in the spirituality of the various branches of the Eastern Orthodox Churches by seeker “evangelicals.” Mysticism runs rampant throughout the eastern “Church,” and people hungry for new “deeper” spiritual experiences are flocking back to what they believe are churches which are more ancient and thus must be a truer reflection of the original Church.

There are some commonalities with most of the forms of today’s modern versions of spiritual formation. Primarily they all are not based upon the authority of the Holy Bible. For these folks the Bible is not enough. It is not, at least in their minds, going to get them that direct-connect they are seeking with the Lord. These spiritually hungry masses are seeking to experience union with Christ or the Holy Spirit and the pathways being offered promise to give people methods by which they can have such encounters.

Have you ever stopped to think about the fact that the Bible never encourages anyone to seek to have visions, trances or out-of-body experiences? When experiences of this type did occur it was always unexpected on the part of the recipient and it was granted by God for a specific purpose in His divine plan for either Israel or the Church. Let me cite just a couple examples:

In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphs, each with six wings; With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another.” “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.” At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke. “Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty.” Isa. 6:1-6

The Prophet Isaiah was not seeking an “audience” with the Ancient of Days. God chose to reveal Himself to Isaiah and when He did note that Isaiah immediately saw his own filthiness and sinful condition in the brightness of God’s glory. He did not have a halleluiah shouting dancing “Pentecost” in God’s presence. On the contrary he had a sense of his unworthiness. Here is an example from the New Testament:

About noon the following day as they were on their journey and approaching the city, Peter went up on the roof to pray. He became hungry and wanted something to eat, and while the meal was being prepared, he fell into a trance. He saw heaven opened and something like a large sheet being let down to earth by its four corners. It contained all kinds of four-footed animals, as well as reptiles of the earth and birds of the air. Then a voice told him, “Get up, Peter. Kill and eat.” Surely not, Lord!” Peter replied, “I have never eaten anything impure or unclean.” The voice spoke to him a second time, “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.” this happened three times, and immediately the sheet was taken back to heaven. While Peter was wondering about the meaning of the vision, the men sent by Cornelius found out where Simon’s house was and stopped at the gate. They called out, asking if Simon who was known as Peter was staying there. While Peter was still thinking about the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Simon, three men are looking for you. So get up and go downstairs. Do not hesitate to go with them, for I have sent them.” Peter went down and said to the men, “I’m the one you’re looking for. Why have you come?” The men replied, “We have come from Cornelius the centurion. He is a righteous and God-fearing man, who is respected by all the Jewish people. A holy angel told him to have you come to his house so that he could hear what you have to say.” then Peter invited the men into the house to be his guest. The next day Peter started out with them, and some of the brothers from Joppa went along. The following day he arrived in Caesarea. Cornelius was expecting them and had called together his relatives and close friends. As Peter entered the house, Cornelius met him and fell at his feet in reverence. But Peter made him get up. “Stand up,” he said, “I am only a man myself.” Talking with him, Peter went inside and found a large gathering of people. He said to them: “You are well aware that it is against our law for a Jew to associate with a Gentile or visit him. But God has shown me that I should not call any man impure

I challenge anyone to read through from Genesis to the Revelation of Jesus Christ and show me one example of a believer seeking to have some form of “spiritual” experience. In every case where an angel or angels appear or a theophany of our Lord appears it is always for extremely important reasons and they all came unexpectedly to the recipients.

There is an important difference between seeking the Lord and seeking to have some type of ecstatic experience which is what the false pathways offer people.

Next month we will begin a biblical look at the discipline of prayer, what it is, what can we expect from it, does it have limits. We’ll consider some of the common errors taught on this matter as well. So stay “tuned” campers, our journey has just begun.

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Copyright © Robert S. Liichow

End Notes

1. I do not mean to be offensive to those with legitimately/organically slow or retarded children. God bless those families who struggle daily with lifelong mental retardation. However, spiritually thinking if you have someone who is 50,60 or 70 years old and they are still a ‘babe’ in Christ, then frankly they are spiritually retarded…or even more seriously, their pastor is spiritually retarded because he has not brought his portion of the Lord’s flock to maturity. Sadly, I’ve known many “seasoned saints” who were basic babes in Christ Jesus in their doctrinal foundation and fellowship with Christ and His people. Brothers and sisters this not ought to be. ALL of us should be on a track of what is called in the Detroit automotive industry as “C.I.” which stands for continual improvement.

2. http://www.bookofconcord.org/smallcatechism.html

3. Please understand I am in no way implying our seasoned saints are not mature. In fact, in our own congregation it is the elderly Christians who are the most faithful and active in Bible study, giving and serving. My point is simply that church attendance does not automatically equate to spiritual growth.

4. The Shorter Westminster Catechism’s first question asks “What is the chief end of man? The answer is —”Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy him forever.”

5. Obtained from http://www.shortercatechism.com/resources/wsc/wsc_001.html

6. http://www.blueletterbible.org/cgi-bin/words.pl?book=Rom&chapter=8&verse=13&strongs=2289&page=

7. Time well spent is time studying all the titles and names given to the Holy Spirit. As with each aspect of the Godhead, each name given reveals to us some aspect of the divine nature. One of the most potent titles given to the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Reality, which at least to this author means that it is He that brings life and illumination to the Holy Scriptures and makes “real” all that means of grace God has given unto His Church.

8. http://www.lessons4living.com/rituals.htm Bold type and underlining added for emphasis.

9. http://www.centeringprayer.com/cntrgpryr.htm

10. Geisler, Norman L. Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics. Baker Book House, 1999.

11. Ibid p. 516. Underlining added for emphasis.

12. For example, every book apart from the Bible, that has been written about heavenly visits or trips to hell for that matter are all subjective. The individual having the alleged experience relates it in a book or tapes series and either people believe them or not. Sadly, multitudes believe these subjective experiences over the clear teaching of the Scriptures. Here are some specific examples: Jesse Duplantis, Heaven Close Encounters of the God Kind. Mary K. Baxter, A Divine Revelation of Hell, Dr. Eby, Didn’t You Read My Book!, Pastor Roland Buck’s Angels on Assignment, Choo Thomas, Heaven Is So Real.

13. Geisler, Norman L. Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics. Baker Book House, 1999, p. 516. Underlining added for emphasis.

14. Carpet time refers to the time that a person spends in an altered state of consciousness during a service. This experience is usually brought on through the laying on of hands by the “anointed” speaker/pastor/prophet.

15. Tracy and I heard Paul Cho teach his occult doctrine “live” via Robert Tilton’s monthly satellite broadcast to the church where I was serving as Associate Pastor in Ann Arbor when it was a fresh revelation to Mr. Cho. Cho’s concept boiled down to its essence is that if you can imagine it, you can create it. Naturally, he wrote a book about it called “The Fourth Dimension” and now I have recently learned there is even a volume two — “The Fourth Dimension Vol. 2, David Yonggi Cho, Paul Yonggi R. Whitney Menzano” Published by Bridge-Logos out of Gainsville, FL. You can visit bridge logos.com to order a copy (why waste your money?)

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Choo’s Tall Tale of Heaven

11 08 2009
Truth Matters Newsletters – March 2006 – Volume 11 Issue 3 – Choo’s Tall Tale of Heaven is to Touch to Swallow – by Robert S. Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

Choo’s Tall Tale of Heaven is to Touch to Swallow

HeavenIsSoReal_ChooThomas

Let me begin by saying thanks to Pastor Dick Fisher who gave me the initial clue to the existence of this latest book allegedly revealing heaven. For some time I have been slowly working on a book which compares all of the alleged visits to heaven and hell with the Bible and with each other, so I was interested to learn of the existence of this book and after I read it I was dumbfounded that anyone could possibly believe what is written in it.

I am not surprised that people have an interest in the afterlife. Every world religion, cult and sect has its version of what happens after we die and since there is still one death per person due to being sinners it comes as no surprise that the world desperately seeks answers. What does surprise me is how gullible and biblically illiterate multitudes of Christians are regarding this subject.

The vast majority of Christians who purchase these books fall into the category of sign-gift believers, i.e. people of the Pentecostal and charismatic persuasion. Coming from that background I can shed some light as to why these folks are more susceptible to this particular brand of deception. Many (not all) charismatic believers hold to the view that God is still revealing truth to His people, apart from the Bible. While claiming to believe that the Bible is the standard by which they judge all revelations, they readily admit that new revelations are still coming, usually through the so-called restored Apostles or Prophets. What they will not admit is that the Bible is a complete and totally sufficient revelation. According to them God has something more to say.

I remember confronting John Arnott, the Pastor of the Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship regarding the bizarre and unbiblical manifestations transpiring under his pastoral leadership. I challenged him to prove that what was taking place could be found within the context of Scripture. He responded by attempting to validate the manifestations by using fragments of biblical text without regard to their context. When I challenged him regarding his use of proof texts he switched gears and used what I have since termed the “John 21:25 Argument.” This text reads “And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written Amen.” Arnott and the other charismatic extremists cite this text to answer those who question their new doctrines or practices. When forced into a corner exegetically they simply respond that what they are teaching or doing is part of the “many other things which Jesus did” that are not recorded for us in the Bible, but God in these last days is revealing them to us!

This is philosophically called – an argument from silence, there is no way of biblically validating such claims ergo we are told to accept them based on the sole authority of the person(s) making them. Thus the restored prophet or apostle becomes the authority over the new doctrines and practices and not the Bible. To question them is to doubt the work of God in the end times and to demand biblical precedents simply proves that we are undoubtedly of a Pharisaical spirit and are steeped in legalism.

All of the accounts regarding alleged visits to heaven and hell since the 1800’s in America have been written by either Pentecostal or charismatic believers. This most recent foray into the afterlife is no exception to this fact. The book we are going to consider has sold over 450,000 copies overseas, making it an international bestseller and with the recent full page story in Charisma magazine (whose publisher, Strang Communications, just happens to be owner of Creation House, the publisher of this book) it will no doubt quickly gather steam among the sign-seekers in our own nation.

Throughout this article I will be citing the page numbers in brackets versus using endnotes. The title is: Heaven Is So Real, Thomas, Choo, Lake Mary, FL: Creation House, 2003.

Who Is Choo Thomas?

Isn’t it interesting that of all the accounts by people claiming to have given a personal tour of heaven (or hell) do not have any theological training whatsoever! In other words, Jesus does not choose someone like Dr. R.C. Sproul, Dr. H. Wayne House, Dr. Marquart or any other theologians to give a personal visit of the heavenly realms too. Instead, He chooses people with little to no biblical education or knowledge whatsoever, like Choo Thomas.

Mrs. Thomas is a Korean-American, her parents are deceased, and she is married and has two grown children (p1). She says she became a Christian in February, 1992 and from that moment on she began to skyrocket into the upper realms of personal holiness “I could only think about Jesus every waking moment,” (p.1). Two years later she says she received “the fire of the Holy Spirit” while she was praying at home in January, 1994. After this experience she had her first vision of Jesus sitting by the pulpit at her local Assembly of God in Tacoma, WA (p.2).

What Does Choo’s Jesus Look Like?

It is interesting but almost everybody’s heavenly encounter with our resurrected Lord differs as to their descriptions of what Jesus looks like. According to Choo this is how Jesus looks:

He was sitting by the pulpit. His legs were crossed, and I could see Him as clearly as a real person, except I couldn’t see His face. As I perceived Him, He had silky white hair and was wearing a pure white robe. His person was visible to me for almost five minutes. After seeing Him my body was on fire with unspeakable joy, and I became wholeheartedly committed to Jesus. (p.2)

Unfortunately, no one else saw “Jesus” during this service or any other time throughout her book. Being married to an African-American woman for over twenty years I can tell you I know the difference between silky (straight) and wooly (kinky hair. According to the Book of Daniel (Dan. 7:9) and the Book of Revelation, Jesus Christ has hair “like as wool” (see Rev. 1:14) which any woman can tell you is far from silky. Beyond this minor detail what is troubling is that Jesus appears to this woman for no apparent reason, He is simply “there.” Every time the Lord appeared either in an Old Testament theophany or in the New Testament (Stephens stoning in Acts 7:59; Paul’s conversion in Acts 9:4; or John on Patmos in Rev. 1:12) it was for a specific purposes in the economy of God. As we shall see, Choo’s role is pivotal in God’s end-time redemptive plan. Beyond seeing this apparition and feeling her body of fire with joy nothing else transpired but 100% commitment to Jesus.

Before delving deeper into Choo’s delusion let me just say that there is no such thing biblically as a baptism of fire. She says she had some physical experience in 01-94 which she interpreted as “the fire of the Holy Spirit,” yet there is no support exegetically for such a claim. It is after this vision that things begin to become very bizarre in Mrs. Thomas’ life.

A Whole Lotta Shakin’ Going On aka Choo is Special!

As of Easter Sunday, 1995 Choo enters into (and she has not stopped to this day) the realm of charismatic extremist manifestations. While she and her family were attending their AOG church in Puget Sound she states:

…my whole body began to shake violently, and we had to stay for second service. I was experiencing the same phenomenon known among Quakers, Shakers and early Pentecostals. Since then, my body never stops shaking in church or during my prayer time at home. Two weeks after this Easter Sunday experience, I received the gift of tongues while at home and began to sing in the Spirit. While watching a Benny Hinn crusade on television, I stood up and lifted my hands in prayer. Then I fell on the floor for almost three hours. The anointing of God’s Holy Spirit was so strong that I couldn’t get up, and all I could do was sing and talk in tongues and laugh. During every worship service after that, I could see the presence of the Lord Jesus in church. (p2)

Please note that Mrs. Thomas is a very special person which she shall make abundantly clear to all of us as we progress. The church she was attending obviously had been involved in the Toronto Blessing aka The Pensacola Outpouring because neither the pastor nor anyone else thought her shaking was out of the ordinary. What is out of the ordinary is that this shaking occurs whenever she is in a church service or even praying at home. She also claims to have received the gift of other tongues while alone at home. Apart from the debate as to the validity of this gift today, the general manner in which 99.9% of all Pentecostal and charismatic believers receive this gift is through the laying on of someone else’s hands or during a congregational meeting. Very few people attest to receiving this gift at home, and without dispute no one in the book of Acts received any of the spiritual gifts apart from the presence and/or the ministry of one or more of the Apostles.

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Choo seems to indicate that she received this gift while watching a Benny Hinn crusade on television, this is very problematic considering the facts about Mr. Hinn since he is a false prophet, false teacher and proven liar. Also her statement about being slain in the spirit for almost 3 hours seems more demonic than divine. She states that she could not get up, something she stresses throughout her book, and all she could do was sing, talk in tongues and laugh. She attributes this experience to the anointing of the Holy Spirit being heavy upon her. As taught and practiced by today’s sign-gift believers there is biblically no such thing as being slain in the spirit. More importantly, the Holy Spirit gives us self-control (see Gal. 5:23 and 2 Peter 1:6). He does not possess us to the extent where we are physically paralyzed yet according to Choo this is exactly how the Spirit ministers to her. After this possession, which is what I consider it to be, her spiritual eyes are opened and from this point on she could see the presence the Lord in every worship service.

I will not go into the history of these aberrant “revivals” and their attending manifestations. I have covered them in the fullest detail avail in my 2 books “Blessing or Judgment” and “Two Roots of Today’s Revival.”

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I urge all of our readers to purchase at some point the book “The Confusing World of Benny Hinn” published by the Personal Freedom Outreach (www.pfo.org). It is the definitive work exposing this dangerous charlatan for who and what he is.

DMI has a small, but very helpful book on this topic entitled “Does the Bible Support Being Slain in the Spirit.” She tries to biblically explain her palsied attacks as a preparatory work of the Holy Spirit; The Bible is replete with examples of people quaking and shaking in the presence of the Lord. Sometimes this manifestation is accompanied by fear, but most of the time it is preparatory; God is about to do a great work through a yielded vessel. (p7).

Obviously, Choo is the yielded vessel through whom God is about to do a great work, a theme she hammers home throughout her book. This preparatory work is ratcheted up by the Lord after her Easter 1995 experience. On January 19, 1996 the Lord wakes her in the early morning and personally visits her. Before each visit the Lord causes her body to shake and perspire for close to an hour, and then the apparition speaks and appears to her.

I turned my head on the pillow to look in the direction of the sound, and there, all aglow, was a figure dressed in white garments. The radiance that emanated from this unknown visitor was so brilliant that I could not see His face, but in my heart of hearts I knew that I had been blessed with a special visitation from the Lord. (p.7).

How did she know this was Jesus?  She “knew” in her heart of hearts. I guess she never was taught that Satan masquerades as an angel of light (2 Cor. 11:14) or that our Lord Himself warned that many will come saying “I am he Christ” (Matt. 24:5). This figure speaks the following words to her “My daughter, Choo Nam, I am your Lord, and I want to talk to you. You have been My special daughter for a long time,” (p.7). According to her own chronology she has been saved about 4 years when this occurs, not much of a “long time” in my book. Don’t lose sight of how Choo’s Jesus calls her His special daughter, Choo is special! He goes on to reveal to her “Daughter you are such an obedient child, and I want to give you special gifts. These gifts are going to serve Me greatly. I want you to be happy about these gifts,” (p.8). Because of her total obedience to the Lord, He has chosen to give her special gifts and He wants her to be “happy” about them.

I knew at that moment God was choosing me to do an important work for Him and that this must become my single-minded purpose…I have known since then that when my body begins to shake from the inside out that God will be speaking to me…God has chosen me for a specific work. It was too wonderful to imagine…(p.8).

The same experience happens again the next morning and this time as she shakes and sweats the Lord explains the reason He must do this to her: “You are my precious daughter…I am giving you the power that you will need for the work I’ve called you to do. I am preparing you to serve Me. Your body shakes as the power flows into you. I am giving you all the spiritual gifts. I am releasing your spirit so you will be completely free to serve Me. (p. 10).

Now we know when we see someone shaking and sweating it is because of the anointing of the Holy Spirit. We are witnessing God pouring His power into some one for a special purpose. He is working to release his or her spirit so that yielded vessel can serve Him! Choo explains it this way to us:

The shaking continued for twenty minutes. I began to view it as being like a spiritual transfusion. The power of the Holy Spirit was coursing through every nerve, sinew, muscle and organ of my body. It was setting me on fire with the power of God. (p.11).

He then explained the shaking in my body. “Your body shakes for a long time because you need power for this work. I want you to expect many surprises.” (p.17).

Shaking equals power in Choo’s world and few charismatic extremists would argue that point with her. The problem with these statements is that there is not one shred of biblical proof to backup such a claim. Everything in her book is based on her own subjective pseudo-spiritual experience. Choo does not make a strong appeal to the scriptures. Instead she continually points to herself as being Jesus’ “special daughter.”

“I know you do not know many things, but I see that you are pure-hearted. I know that you believe everything about Me. I’ve seen your obedience, and I know you fear My words. (p.80).

Because of her high degree of sanctification and her unwavering belief concerning everything about Himself He chooses her for this great end-time work.

You are living your life completely for Me. Your heart has willingly given up all worldly things for Me. I now know that nothing brings satisfaction to you more than being in My presence. (p.84).

Choo has become totally heavenly-minded. She has reached sinless perfection because one would have to be totally sinless to live his or her life completely for Christ, without any thought of self. She has reached a level of perfection that even surpasses the Apostle Paul who said that he had not obtained (read Phil. 3:12) perfection and was still striving to reach it.

 “Whoever permits Me to control their life will be blessed. These are My obedient children. You are My special child.” (p.93).

Choo’s life is blessed because she is one of the obedient children, which makes her special.

Daughter, you are special to Me…I choose My children who are pure and obedient — those who put Me first in their lives. (p.107).

She gets confused here because she stated earlier that the Lord had told her He had chosen her for this work before the foundation of the world. Yet now her Jesus reveals to her that He choose His children based on their purity of heart and obedience, people who put Jesus first in their lives. It is by our works, whether of personal sanctification or obedience to the law and putting Jesus first. (which in and of itself is fine) that determines the Lord choosing us or not.

If you were not such a special daughter, I could not bring you to heaven to show you all the things you have seen. (p.11).

Obviously Thomas is such a special daughter because if she was not then Jesus could not have brought her to heaven and shown her all these wonders. The inescapable inference is that the vast majority of Christians are not special to the Lord because He has not given them this foretaste of heaven. Choo is special, you and I are not.

You are very special to Me. You must believe this. I had to choose the right daughter for this important work, and you are the one I’ve chosen. (p. 111).

I am not a psychologist, but it really seems that Choo suffers from delusion of grandeur because the quotes from Jesus deal with how special she is versus revealing unknown truth to the church. Choo is the right daughter for this work, she is the personally chosen one!

This is one of the reasons I love you so much, My daughter.” (p.115).

My daughter, I really enjoy being with you.” (p.125).

You have beautiful hair.” (p. 125).

You are beautiful, My daughter.” (p.125).

Don’t be shy, My daughter,” the Lord counseled. The He lifted my face… (p.125).

Choo and Jesus are on a deserted beach and she is dancing and singing in front of the apparition. One of the reasons Jesus loves her is because of her yielded spirit and devotion, so now we know that Christ’s love is not unconditional, there are reasons why He loves us. Here again I believe we read about her deeply held insecurities because Jesus tells her how much He enjoys being with her, how beautiful her hair is, how beautiful she is! This specific encounter is one of the most sensual and frankly, disgusting of the entire book.

 “ I will bring many of My children to the Kingdom, but not every one will live in mansions like the one that had your name on the door. These mansions are for very special children.” (P.138).

There are 2 classes of Christians in heaven according to Choo’s Jesus. The lower wattage believers will not inherit palaces like Choo’s with her own name in gold on a nameplate on the door. These palaces are reserved for the, you guessed it, the very special children (more on the 2 classes a bit later on).

I didn’t show you the kingdom and the pit of hell to bring you home now. I showed you all those things so you will help save the lost and let everyone know what it takes to enter the kingdom. (p.152).

After seeing her mansion and all the glories of heaven she does not want to go back to earth. Yet her Jesus tells her that He has shown her these things so Choo can help save the lost. What is more she is to let everyone know what it takes (WORKS) to enter the kingdom. Choo has a role in the redemption of the lost and is appointed to tell everyone what it takes to get to heaven. The problem is she does not tell anyone in the book exactly “what it takes.” She surely does not mention that salvation is the gift of God, or that what it takes is the work of Jesus Christ on our behalf. Nor does she point out that salvation is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone according to the Scriptures alone.

My daughter, you are an End-Times prophetess.” The Lord told me, “and You are living proof of My Word and My prophecies. (p. 168).

Towards the end of the book we see her role in the Church revealed. She is an end-time prophetess (she told us she was special). She is living proof of the Word and His prophecies! The Bible is not enough “proof”…

But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” (John 20:31).

The fact that the Holy Spirit bearing witness with our spirits that we are children of God is also insufficient proof (see Rom. 8:16). Nope, we need living proof in the form of sister Choo to believe God’s Word.

He took me to His throne and directed me to sit on a chair next to Him. This was the first time the Lord seated me next to Himself.” (p. 61).

While in heaven she entered into the throne room which is filled with the O.T. prophets and N.T. authors and directed by Jesus to sit next to Him on the throne! The mother of James and John must have really been livid upon finally discovering who the Father was granting the right to sit at Jesus’ right hand. Remember she tired to wheedle her boys into the right and left hand seats in the Kingdom (see Matt. 20:21). Sorry sister, very special Choo is seated next to Jesus not James or John.

There can be no doubt in the readers mind how special Choo Thomas is. It makes sense when you realize how important the work she has been given to do is according to God’s plan for the end-times. His great work for her is to complete the canon of Scripture.

Choo’s Book Is Divinely Authoritative

Choo told us she was special, so special in fact that what she has written for us are the exact words of Jesus Christ. If language means anything, then the revelations in Choo’s book are on the same level as the Holy Bible; in fact, we should cut out the pages and tape them into our Bibles. Keep in mind according to this woman, Jesus appears to her and directly tells her to remember and write down His exact words. If that does not mean her book is to be treated as divine revelation than I do not understand the concept at all. Here are only a few of the statements from her book which prove my point:

I am your Lord, My daughter. I want you to hear and remember everything I tell you. When you write it down, use My exact words. You are sleepy, but do not miss any of the words I tell you. I will be visiting you many times in the future because I have important work for you to do. You are the child I am going to use to do this work for Me, so be prepared.” (p. 11).

Then He reiterated something He had commanded me to do several times before: Write down everything I show you and tell you. (p.21).

The Lord continued: I want you to remember everything I tell you and show you. Make sure you write everything down. I will make sure that everyone understands all the things I show and tell you. (p.28).

I do not want you to miss anything I show or tell you,” He instructed. “Nothing more; nothing less. Everything has to be exactly as I reveal it to you.” (p.36).

My daughter you have much work to do. I want you to write a book. This is an important book for the last days, and it will be translated into many languages. I chose you for this work before you were born, and this is why My Holy Spirit is always shaking your body—to pour My power into you. (p.47).

You do not need to know how to write the book. Just write down what I show you and tell you… (p.70).

Now you know why, My daughter. I want you to concentrate on the book, with no interruptions. This book is very important to Me, and it will be a special blessing for My children. Whatever you do, I want you to talk to Me first. Everything about this book has to be My will. (p.79).

Some people will not believe you, but you don’t need to worry about that. My daughter, I am simply using you for this book. It is My book and I will take care of it. (p.80).

Because you are what you are, I chose you for this work…This is My book and My responsibility… I want you to be happy because you are My special daughter. (p.80).

This book will help deliver many people who are in spiritual darkness…I notice that you have never been deliberately disobedient since you gave your heart to Me, an you always put Me first in your life. This is why I chose you as My special daughter and friend. (p.92).

Write this down, Choo Nam. I want all My children to know what awaits them in heaven. I know many of My children have questions about heaven. Some of them wonder if there will be food to eat in heaven. (p.100).

Why do you think I chose prophets to work for Me on earth? Like you, I’ve sent them in order to do My work. Without prophets, I would not have any way of communicating my desire to My children. Therefore, My daughter, do not miss writing about anything I show or tell you. Tell it all. It is because you are such an obedient daughter that I am able to use you. (p.102).

“I want My children to read this book, because so many of them have doubts about heaven. I want them to believe there is a heaven and to live pure and obedient lives so they can come into My kingdom. This book is about all My words and the Kingdom I have prepared for whoever wants to come. Everything is already prepared. This book must be written by a Spirit-filled person. My daughter, if you were not under the special power of my Holy Spirit, I could never use you for this work. (p.116).

I want you to write down exactly what I show you and tell you. Nothing more and nothing less. After this is done, you will receive special gifts to serve Me, and you will be a blessing to My people. I will also bless you more than you want. (p.120).

I want all of My children to come to My kingdom. Whoever reads this book, I want them to believe and realize how they have to live in the world in order to enter the kingdom. (p.131).

From these 15 citations (there are more in the book) it should be obvious to the reader that this book is no ordinary book. Choo, although very special to Jesus, was simply the vehicle through which the “Lord” gave the Church and world new insights. Her book is so powerful that God will use it to deliver people out of spiritual darkness and through its revelations teach people how to live in order to enter the Kingdom of God. According to her Jesus, everything in the book, including its title (p.120), comes directly from the revealed will of God. At no point does Choo’s Jesus direct her or her readers to read the Bible daily, or to study and show themselves approved of God (2 Tim. 2:15). This entity makes no statements regarding the centrality of the Bible; He does make quite a few comments about how important His book through her is!

Hitherto Unknown Heavenly Revelations – aka The Gospel According to Choo

Since you now understand the divine weight of the words in His book, it behooves us to look into the “deep’ insights Choo’s Jesus is sharing with the Church and World. According to Mrs. Thomas, our Lord took her to heaven on 17 occasions. Prior to each “lift-off” the paranormal pattern is as follows: It is early in the morning, between 1:00 and 3:00 AM. Choo’s body goes into the uncontrollable spasms and she sweats profusely. This shaking goes on from a half and hour to an hour. She refers to the cause of this experience using a variety of adjectives based on the root word “anointing.” Here are a few examples: “the anointing of the Lord’s presence,” (p.9), “the intense heat of His anointing,” (p.19), “The anointing was heavy upon me,” (p.59), “a special anointing,” (p.59), “by the anointing of heat,” (p.74), “I was praying intensely under a great anointing from the Holy Spirit,” (p.84), “I cried under the precious anointing,” (p.87), “I plan to give you a special anointing,” (p.121), “a very special anointing,” (p.121), “then the hot anointing and groaning began,” (p.137).

Then she hears a voice speaking to her and she sees the apparition. At this point she has an out-of-body experience where this being first takes her to a secluded beach on earth (location unknown), where they chat for awhile. While out of her physical body it reacts to everything she sees and experiences in her transformed spirit body. If she dances spiritually, then her body on the bed dances too, etc. From the beach they then travel to heaven. I will not detail all 17 trips, but I will cite the “new” information from her trips.

The Master again took me into a huge tunnel. Again—unlike most tunnels—it was bright and shiny…I reasoned this must be the tunnel that people who have near-death experiences frequently describe as the passageway from this life to the next. (p.24).

Unlike Duplantis who got a cable car ride to heaven, Choo goes through a bright tunnel and pops out on the other side in heaven. She has no Scripture to equate her experience to,  so she relies on the subjective alleged near-death experiences of others for validation.

Thomas and her apparition walk along a winding road, passing gorgeous flowers until they come to a white palace with beautiful stained glass windows. They walk in and she sees — The Lord’s glistening golden throne stood atop a raised, oval shaped platform. Beams of radiant glory streamed from the center of the room where this platform was located. I was directed by an angel to a little room on the side, and I was surprised to discover a powder room there. A full-length mirror covered the entire wall on the left side of this room, and many beautiful velvet chairs were neatly arranged in front of the mirror…The being opened a large, walk-in closet that contained many robes, gowns and crowns…After I was dressed, the angel escorted me back to the main room. The Lord was waiting for me. I noticed that He was wearing a gown and crown like mine. (p26).

Good news ladies there are powder rooms in heaven! Every time Choo gets ushered off to heaven she and her Jesus must first change into different robes than their normal spirit-body robes. Note that Jesus wears a crown and robe like Choo’s, as opposed to her being clothed in the robes of His righteousness, no Jesus is dressed like Choo.

What is fairly unique to Choo’s delusion is that she does not see many others in heaven, no multitudes, no throngs of joyous saints praising their Lord. She does mention briefly meeting Abraham, but basically her report is about her, she is the center of attention.

After walking over the beautiful bridge, the Lord led me to a place where babies and infants—many of whom looked as if they had just been born—were kept. It was a huge room, like a warehouse, and wasn’t fancy or pretty. It was filled with babies who were naked and lying close to one another…”There are the babies of mothers who did not want them.” (p.38).

Something doesn’t make sense, Duplantis saw babies and little children being taught by angels….Thomas on the other hand sees them laying in a drab building, naked with no one attending them. They are the aborted babies, whose mothers can have them back if they get saved. Robert LIARdon saw a warehouse in his trip to heaven, but his was filled with human body parts, not babies. Whose vision can we trust? After all, the Bible is silent about what happens to infants and none of the biblical accounts of heaven make mention of them.

The Lord took me to a barren site outside the gate of the Kingdom and showed me many people wearing sand colored robes were in this region, standing very close together, and I noticed that they looked forlorn and lonely even though they were in the midst of so many others. (p.39). I noticed multitudes of people who were wearing sand-colored robes roaming aimlessly in the vicinity of the pit’s yawning mouth. Their heads were hanging low, and they looked very dejected and hopeless. Who are these people, Lord? I asked. “They are disobedient Christians.” How long will they have to stay in this barren, lifeless place? “Forever, My daughter. The only ones who will enter My kingdom are the pure of heart—My obedient children.” (P.46).

He took me to another high mountain from which I could look down into another endless valley here a multitude of people dressed in grey-colored robes were wandering about in an apparent mood of dejection. Their robes reminded me of the gowns worn by hospital patients. The people looked weak and lost, and their grey faces matched the color of the robes they were wearing…This place was mostly men with just a few women. Who are these people Lord? “They are sinful Christians.” What is going to happen to them? I wondered aloud. “Most of them will go to the lake of fire after the judgment.” (p.58).

At least in this detail Choo stays the course with many of the other heavenly delusions in print. We can expect there to be 2 classes of people in heaven. Duplantis saw people in different colored robes, denoting their rank in heaven. Choo sees a class of Christians, some are disobedient and others are sinful. Her Jesus says some of these sinful Christians will end up in the lake of fire. Why not all of them? What did some of these sinful saints do in order to escape the fire? Choo attempts to back up her cockeyed notion by citing 2 Cor. 5:10 concerning the judgment seat. According to her revelation only those who attain sinless perfection in his life will be numbered among the justified in heaven. Again, her focus is on our works and our strivings as opposed to the work Jesus Christ did for us on the cross. If these are the lower class of Christian who are the “high class” super saints?

…I noticed many adults and children who were wearing white gowns, and some of them were wearing crowns. They were simply standing there with very happy looks on their faces. (p.40). As I turned in another direction, I noticed a beautiful river. Along the river was a rock wall, and magnificent dwellings were situated on the left side of the river. Many of these homes looked like castles where only the very wealthy might live. The Lord said, “They are houses for My special children.” (p.44).

These folks have worked really hard and because they are extra special to Jesus (no doubt because of their works), He has made castles for them. As we know all too well by now, Choo is “special” to this being so it only stands to reason that she should get to see her mansion in glory:

We approached one of the castles, and the Lord opened the door for me to enter…The walls were constructed of multicolored precious gems that glistened in a magical way…The Lord rested on a chair as I went up the winding staircase that was more massive and grand than the one shown in Gone With the Wind’s Tara plantation…I noticed that the carpeting was a plush white. I entered a huge powder room that had a very large, sparkling mirrors everywhere. They reflected the brightness of the room (p.55)…I was awestruck by the sparking stone walls that lined the corridor of my mansion. I loved the red-and-cream-colored carpet with its round pattern. The red velvet chairs—so classic and sophisticated—were like the ones I had always wanted in my home. The red draperies were the finest I’d ever seen…The bedroom was carpeted in pure white, and I noticed that the headboard of the bed was silver with blue stones embedded…The mirror on the dresser also had blue stones…The bathroom had a silver bathtub that was decorated with precious jewels of every color. (p.64).

Everybody who gets a pre-death trip to heaven gets to see their “mansion.” This is one problem with taking the Kings James version of the Bible at face value without doing a little grammatical digging. Robertson’s Word Pictures of the New Testament says the following about John 14:2:

John 14:2 – Mansions (monai). Old word from menw, to abide, abiding places, in N.T. only here and verse 23. There are many resting-places in the Father’s house (oikia). Christ’s picture of heaven here is the most precious one that we possess. It is our heavenly home with the Father and with Jesus. If it were not so of the verb (Mark 2:21; Re 2:5,16; Joh 14:11). Here a suppressed condition of the second class (determined as unfulfilled) as the conclusion shows. I would have told you (ejpon an u `min). Regular construction for this apodosis (an and aorist-second active–indicative). For I go (o`ti poreuomai). Reason for the consolation given, futuristic present middle indicative, and explanation of his words in 13:33 that puzzled Peter so (13:36f). To prepare a place for you (e `times topon u `min). First aoist active infinitive of purpose of e `toimazw, to make ready, old verb from e `toimoj. Here only in John, but in Mr 10:40 (Mt. 20:23). It was customary to send one forward for such a purpose (Nu 10:33). So Jesus had sent Peter and John to make ready (this very verb) for the Passover meal (Mr 14:12; Mt 26:17). Jesus is thus our Forerunner (prodromoj) in heaven (Heb 6:20).

These text says nothing about each saint having their own mansion. Her description sounds more like the TBN television set than something created by God! Also, think a moment, why will we need beds in heaven? Will we get tired of praising the Lord? There is no day or night there; the Christ himself is the light throughout heaven (Rev. 21:23). We will be in eternity, so time as we know it will not pass. We will be glorified and like Christ, so we will not get tired and need a “nap.” Choo is fixated on mirrors and powder rooms in her book. She does not describe a heavenly commode, but I assume there must be some since there are heavenly bathtubs (I wonder where the dirt will come from that needs to be cleansed off our bodies?). Thomas also noted a dresser in her bedroom, I guess that is to hold her gowns, maybe the saints “dress” for dinner. Furthermore, the obedient/special children on God will also possess vacation homes on the beach (p.102). When you get tired of all the hubbub in the New Jerusalem just pack up the kids in your chariot and go down to your beachfront vacation mansion for a little R&R!

Good news for pet owners!   Hot off the pages of the Gospel according to Choo: We hiked out of the garden, along a narrow, winding road that led to a mountain vista overlooking a lush green valley. I could see animals of all sorts galloping and playing among the trees. I particularly noticed a spectacular deer that looked so strong and healthy. I noticed that these animals, which would usually be considered wild, were playful with one another. (p44)…It is reassuring to know that animals will live with us in paradise. So many people wonder if their pets will be in heaven…where people and animals alike will never experience pain, hardship, death or suffering ever again. After our visit to the animal paradise, the Lord and I went back to the waterside…(p55).

Again, this is information that the Bible does not detail for us. The book of the Revelation does not mention any animals, there may or may not be animals in heaven, does it really matter? Thomas tells her readers that no animals will ever experience pain or death. Well, that is, except for fish!

Good news for Fishermen!   According to the revelation of Thomas we shall both catch and eat fish in heaven.

We descended the hillside and walked to the water where we saw all kinds of fish swimming in the river…It amused me to see fish in heaven, and I began to laugh…I reached down and grabbed a red, striped fish and lifted it out of the water. I was laughing so uncontrollably, so the fish jumped out of my hands and swam to safety…He began to participate in the action with me by reaching down and grabbing a large fish…It was so good to see the Lord enjoying the moment with me (p.88-89).

As we walked over it, I looked down and saw that the stream was filled with many different kinds of fish. What are the fish for? I asked. “This is food for the kingdom.” the Lord replied. It made me happy to know that we willl be eating fruit and fish in heaven. The fact that these are the primary foods of the kingdom suggests we should be eating more of them on earth. (p.97). …by wading into the water and grabbing a large, flat, white fish. It was about the size of my two hands together. I enjoyed watching the Lord do this for me, and I found the scene to be very amusing…Next, I walked with Him beyond the rocks, where I noticed many large cooking areas that had silver-colored ovens built into the rocks. Atop the oven were cooking grilles with oval-shaped plates and silver forks. The Lord simply pushed a button on the side of one oven and a fire began. He then assumed the role of a cook, right in front of me. He grilled the fish until both sides of it were brown. He seemed to be so happy doing this for me…When we finished eating, He took my plate and fork and put them into a silver container…It wasn’t because I ate the fish; it was because my Lord and Savior cooked the fish and we ate it together. (p.98).

PETA will not be happy to learn that Jesus is not a “vegan.” However, we have been given important information about our future diet in heaven, fruit and fish, ergo we are to be eating much more of these on earth now (I suppose we should walk around in gowns too). I suppose eating all this fruit and fish necessitate the need for “powder rooms” in glory.

Demonic Possession

I stated earlier in this article that it is my belief that Choo is demonically possessed, certainly under the control of a strong demonic delusion. Her own account bears witness to my belief:

“During the night of February 12, my body shook more violently then it ever had. I was almost hurled form the bed because it was so forceful. I tried to grab the sheets to steady myself, but I couldn’t because I had no control over my body. The shaking was unremittingly forceful, and I grew afraid. (p.17).

I began singing in the spirit. The songs come forth, and I have no control over them when I am with the Lord. (p119).

The unusual voice that accompanies the supernatural visions the Lord gives me came forth. (p.123).

The supernatural voice that accompanies the visions He imparts to me came forth, and I saw the cover of Heaven Is So Real. (p.128).

After everything is done, I want you to build My church.” This statement called forth the voice that always accompanies the supernatural visions the Lord gives me. (p.132).

The vision-voice came forth from my spirit. It seemed to take control of me for a long time (p.134).

My vision-voice came forth as it usually does in preparation for a supernatural vision from the Lord (p.138,139).

By this time I was singing loudly, and my hands were moving around like fists swinging at a punching bag…My whole body was jumping up and down because of the anointing and the shaking. I felt as if I were flying…The excited movement of my body and my vision-voice were so loud that I’m sure the whole house could hear me. (p.139).

Since January 1996 the anointing has been so strong that I cannot even control the shaking and other physical manifestations…For example, as of this writing, I cannot even enter the room where Roger works on the computer because the Holy Spirit’s presence is so strong there…my body begins to jump for joy. This is a physical response that comes from the Lord, and I have no control over it. (p148).

During the periods of shaking I would read my Bible and pray. Then as I would get into bed, my body would undergo tremendous and violent shaking for five or ten minutes. In the process my stomach would tighten, and I would experience spasms in the abdominal region. All of this happens each evening before the Lord’s visit to my room…During these marvelous visits, the Lord speaks directly and personally to me. Then He began to preparatory work in my body. When this happens, I have no control over my body for a period of two to four hours. (p158).

It isn’t until the reader is almost half way through the book that Choo’s mentions that prior to the appearance of the apparition she begins to speak in an “unusual” vision-voice. This is not her usual voice, but something that comes upon her or from within her which signify the beginning of her visions. She admits time after time throughout the book that when this voice speaks through her she has no control over it. When her body shakes or she jumps up and down, again she has no control over it. During the duration of visit by her spirit-guide she is physically out of control. This simply is not the work of the Holy Spirit, it is not indicative of His fruit in our lives.

Galatians 5:22-24  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.

1 Corinthians 14:32   The spirit of prophets are subject to the control of prophets.

Choo tells us that she is an end-time prophetess, why can’t she control her own spirit? Where is the self-control in her devotional life? By simple definition, when one is possessed then that individual is incapable of independent action apart from the controlling entity. Choo tells us she has no control during these times.

During the next portion of her book, Thomas goes on to reveal to the readers how “anointed” she is and exactly what the Lord did to her physically in what she refers to as her “body work.” “Each time before the preparatory work begins the Lord talks to me about my future. Then the body work commences…” (p.159). Sound creepy? Choo takes us to the “outer limits” and beyond in the next chapters:

The work involved with preparing my body for the ministry God has called me to do included my face, my hands, my head, my feet and my back. The Lord used my hands to touch every part of my body from my head to the bottom of my feet over and over again…The Holy Spirit directed me in all of this. I don’t really have control of my hands, or any part of my body, when the Holy Spirit is doing His anointed work on me and with me…On several of the nights the Lord poured oil upon me. This precious oil was in oval vessels that looked like small perfume bottles. The bottles were of many different colors. He would pour the oil upon me from head to toes, and on my back as well…I have found that He poured a total of eight-five bottles of anointing oil upon me…Before being bathed in the anointing oil each time an unusual vision-song would come forth. (p.160).

As He poured the anointing oil on my body, I would shake, jerk, perspire and become intently hot…Some nights, while the Lord would be working with my body and hand movements, my entire physical being would become black and cold… There were other occasions when my entire body would become invisible as the Lord was doing His preparatory work with me…During some sessions the Lord would both lift my body and lower it…Many times He would raise and lower my body forty-nine times a night (p.162).

Thomas goes on and on with more of the above. My brothers and sisters what she is describing has absolutely no relationship to the Bible whatsoever. She is describing perfectly what happens to an individual who has undergone what the Hindus call Shaktipat initiation.” Those who practice Kundalini yoga (translated the serpent power) undergo what they term as an unlocking of their charkas. Charkas are alleged to be energy centers within the human body. The lowest charkas is at the base of the spine and is said to have the form of a coiled serpent (the Kundalini). There are 7 charkas, stopping at the top of the head. Kundalini yoga is considered to be one of the most dangerous forms of yoga and the most demonic gurus of our day have all practiced and taught it, i.e. Bhagwn Shree Rajneesh, Swami Muktananda, Sai Baba to name just a few to deceive multitudes in our own nation. When the serpent power is released in the body, the body goes into spontaneous “kriyas”:

Kriyas, literally “activities”, are spontaneous movements that occur after Kundalini awakening. These include bodily activities such as trembling, shaking, and spontaneous yoga postures; vocal activities such as yelling, or spontaneous chanting and mental activities such as visions. These Kriyas eliminate the blocks to kundalini rising within the spine or central channel.

” Then came the most wild of the kriyas. They continued day and night, but were most vigorous when I was lying down at rest. I hardly slept at all during this period. My body would jerk around in radical, spasmodic movements. These often involved very specific muscle groups, such as those in my feet, hands, stomach, back and so forth… then my arms would fly up and down in similar kind of rapid and rhythmic motion. My legs would kick up and down in the same way. These movements were hard and martial, as if I were practicing military marching while lying in bed… The arm movements were becoming more sinuous and complex. As these arm motions became more fast and furious, I went to a full length mirror to witness what was happening. All at once I had the most eerie feeling, as if my body was ‘remembering’ something. My hips, knees and legs began to sway and undulate as the intricate arm motions choreographed. I stared at the mirror in awe…My body was performing some kind of exotic dance. Then my arms came forward and my hands met, palms pressed together in a prayer-like pose, and drew up to the centre of my chest. A force pulled me over into a bow and held me there an instant. Then my knees buckled, and I found myself kneeling prostrate on the floor. The thought hit me; ‘I’m worshipping something, but worshipping what? Then I knew; I had just performed a sacred temple dance.

Once these “blocks” within the body are removed, then the serpent power can flow throughout the person and from them to others! This is precisely what Mrs. Thomas is undergoing and she has mistakenly attributed it to the work of the Holy Spirit! Choo, like the woman in the quote, mentions that her hands began to move at such a rapid rate they were almost a blur at times. She spends a great deal of time relating to the readers how she privately “dances” before the Lord on the beach. At least the woman in the above citation had the wherewithal to ask what she was worshipping? Choo never asks, just knows all of these experiences are of the Lord and by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Why on earth (or heaven) would the Lord have to work on her physical body in order to prepare her for ministry? No one else in the entire Bible has had to undergo such experiences, frankly, no orthodox Christian since the Apostles have had to undergo any such nonsense.

It was as if He were unlocking the potential within my body…He would cause my body to rise and kneel before Him in intervals of seven, over and over again…Thirty-three different time He “unlocked” the various parts of my body that needed His work of preparation. When He unlocked my hands, for instance, they shook so hard that I grew frightened…Each part of my body had a special reaction to the unlocking work…Each time the Lord pours the anointing oil on me or unlocks the locks of my body, my physical being responds with violent shaking, jerking, intense heat, groans and supernatural power that causes my body to be lifted up (p.165).

Thomas says her body literally levitates, at times becomes invisible, other times turns black and cold. She experiences intense heat and each part of her body (charka?) responds differently as it is unlocked, which is exactly what everything written about kundalini awakenings denotes.

She reports so many other bizarre occurrences during the 3 years of her spiritual transformation that I cannot describe them all. What is to me most disturbing is that close to half a million professing Christians have purchased her book! What shocks me is that Strang Communications, owners of Creation House, would deign to publish a book that is so completely off the charts biblically. From start to finish her novel is fill with unsupported statements and out rightly demonic manifestations. Why didn’t the Strang Editors pick up on this? Why didn’t they refuse to print her book and point Thomas to the Bible and the Jesus of the Bible, who sees all His children as special?

This book and its growing popularity prove to me that we are surely living in dark times. When people can give this balderdash any credence at all is beyond the scope of even my warped imagination. Her book does alert me, and now I hope you as well, to the desperate need that the Body of Christ has for Apologetic ministries. When hundreds of thousands of people can be deceived by such patently obvious fabrications we know that we have got a real battle for God’s truth on our hands. Please pray for Mrs. Thomas and ask God to grant repentance to Strang publications for being a tool in Satan’s hands to mislead multitudes. 

Copyright © 2006 Robert S. Liichow

This is a video link that shows a comparison of the manifestations which are mentioned above in this article, and have also continued to be currently promoted in books, conferences and recent revivals such as the Lakeland Revival. 

Footnotes

1. I will not go into the history of these aberrant “revivals” and their attending manifestations. I have covered them in the fullest detail available in my 2 books “Blessing or Judgment” and “Two Roots of Today’s Revival.”

2. I urge all of our readers to purchase at some point the books “The Confusing world of Benny Hinn” published by the Personal Freedom Outreach (www.pfo.org ). It is the definitive work exposing this dangerous charlatan for who and what he is.

3. DMI has a small, but very helpful book on this topic entitled “Does the Bible Support Being Slain in the Spirit.”

4. Obtained from http://www.experiencefestival.com/krivas.

5. Obtained from http://www.eaglespiritministry.com/teaching/elcollie/eckm.htm.

6. The books written on heavenly trips have been by people without any seminary education. People like Mary K. Baxter, Jesse Duplantis, Robert Liardon, Howard Pittman, Richard Eby and others.

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