Happy “Fathers Day” Gift Issue

12 06 2010
Truth Matters Newsletters – May 2010 – Vol. 15  Issue 6 – “The Happy Fathers Day”  Gift Issue – By Rev. Robert Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

THE HAPPY FATHERS DAY GIFT ISSUE

By Rev. Robert S. Liichow

The month of June is indeed a blessed month. Not only do I get to celebrate Father’s Day but also my birthday (the 16th!) From one father to another I give to all the DMI family a free book this month to enjoy reading during these lazy hot days of June. This book will help equip you to answer some of the charges leveled against those of us who stand up for biblical truth. Enjoy!

Will the Real Pharisee Please Stand Up!

By Rev. Robert S. Liichow

Chapter 1

Name Calling

“Sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never hurt me”

One would think that leaders who are supposed to have been initiated into the high realms of sanctification and anointing due to revival would naturally be more spiritually-minded. Having arrived at a level of godly development beyond that of their non-charismatic brethren one would not expect them to stoop to the childish level of name calling…yet this is one of the most commonly employed tactics by the leadership of today’s so-called revival.

The Dreaded Title of Pharisee

In every revival meeting my wife and I have attended (which is quite a few) we have heard a litany of derogatory names used to describe anyone who dares disagree with their beliefs and practices. Their favorite term is that of “Pharisee.”

A Pharisee is anyone who has the gall to look to the Bible and only accept what is contained contextually within its pages. Here is a direct quote from the Toronto Blessings Page on the Internet:

Many passages of Scriptures seems to cast laughter as undesirable, and most Pharisees uses these Scriptures to forbid laughter at Toronto Blessing meetings.

Those who truly and honesty do not see holy laughter in the context of Scripture are reported as being so traditional as to forbid non-Biblical practices in the Church! I have yet to hear anyone publicly admit that there are Christians who out of a pure heart and honest motive simply do not agree with what is happening.

All of those who do not endorse the revival have evil motives attributed to them. Michael Brown, one of the leading writers for the revival chastises the non-supporters in this fashion:

How many worldwide awakenings would have taken place this century if church people had not stood in the way of God? Very few revivals have ever finished their God-appointed course. Very few outpourings of the Spirit have ever reached their potential. Man is always getting in the way!…Our denominational pride has stifled many a move of the Spirit.

 Which church people was Brown referring to? Obviously the “Pharisees,” the people who refuse to submit themselves to subjective experiences which fall outside of the Biblical perimeters.

What is more shocking than the name-calling is the lack of theological understanding of God that Michael Brown possesses. This is “shocking” because he is the head of the new bible training center at the Brownsville Assembly of God!

Mr. Brown has an incorrect view of God’s sovereignty. To him man is capable of stopping a sovereign move of the Spirit! The Lord wanted to send revival, but the ole mean Pharisees stopped Him and His Spirit by refusing to budge from the Word of God (forgive the sarcasm). If this were possible then man would be more powerful than God. Let’s consider some Biblical texts and see if God’s will is ever thwarted. (Bold type and underlining added for emphasis).

Daniel 4:25 That they shall drive thee from men, and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field, and they shall make thee to eat grass as oxen, and they shall wet thee with the dew of heaven, and seven times shall pass over thee, till thou know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will.

Daniel 4:35 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 hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?

The king in the above text had lost sight of a crucial facet of the character of God – He is totally sovereign in His actions and is accountable to no one. “None can stay His hand”, so if He sends revival then there is no one alive who can stop His will to revive His people. None.

Deut. 10:17 For the Lord your God is God of gods, and Lord of lords, a great God, a mighty, and a terrible which regarded not persons, nor taketh reward:

2 Chron. 20:6 And said, O LORD God of our fathers, art not thou God in heaven? and rulest not thou over all the kingdoms of the heathen? and in thine hand is there not power and might, so that none is able to withstand thee?

There are multitudes of Scriptures which prove beyond any discussion that God is sovereign. That He accomplishes all the good pleasure of His will. The Bible plainly states there is none that can stop Him. Yet the revivalists of yesterday and today continue to preach a “god” who is less than the God of the bible. Their god is one whose will and desires are thwarted by men and women who, obviously, are mightier than God at least in this respect.

Charles Finney was one of the forerunners of this misconception about the sovereignty of God. He said that it has always been the ministers who have stopped God’s revival.

Now it is remarkable that so far as my knowledge extends, all the seasons of great revivals with which the church has been blessed from the very first, have been broken up and the revival influence has been set aside by an ecclesiastical and sectarian jangling to preserve what they call the purity of the church and the faith once delivered to the saints. I believe it is to be a truth, that ministers as a class, have always been responsible for the decline of revivals.;

As the saying goes “the fruit does not fall far from the tree” and Michael Brown echoes the same incorrect concept that Finney originally harbored. Finney held a “limited” God view, which is not surprising since many theologians consider Charles Finney to be a Pelagian in regards to his doctrinal stance.

When the term Pharisee is used by today’s leaders it is often referring to other Christian leaders with a seminary education. Anyone who has gone to school for several years. Undergone the rigors of learning the original languages. Taking a few years to write a thesis and later a dissertation are somehow generally of no value to God. According to Rodney Howard Browne, the “Holy Ghost Bartender,” believers are often ruined by their seminary education.

Too many people allow their education to make them unstable. I’ve noticed people, prior to going into seminary, who are totally qualified for the work of God, totally anointed, but they come out after several years of seminary totally ruined.

Is that right? Unstable as in incapable of being used? I for one thank God for the seminary education I am undertaking, it has rendered me impossible to be used by the trickery of men, as I was prior to learning something about the God of the bible.

What does the Holy Ghost Bartender mean by qualified? When Rodney and his family go to the doctor how qualified does he expect his doctor to be? I assume the “call” to be a doctor must be all that is needed in order to set up a practice. On the contrary, I am sure he wants the most highly trained physician who got the highest grades and who graduated at the top of his class. When Rodney builds a home, I suppose the architects desire to draw is sufficient to license him as an architect.

Rodney, like everyone else demands the highest level of training possible from anyone he deals with, from cook to auto mechanic. Now if a mere medical doctor obtains from eight to ten years of training how much more should those who minister God’s eternal Word strive to obtain as much training and education as possible?

This is the mind set of Charismatic’s in general. Just being “called” is sufficient to start a church, get up in front of 1,000’s and teach, to write books and hold seminars. Do not loose sight of the fact that the majority of today’s charismatic leaders have little or no theological training. People such as Oral Roberts, Kenneth Hagin, Kenneth and Gloria Copeland, Charles Capps, Marilyn Hickey, and many others have not graduated from seminary, do not read the original languages, etc. Yet they are qualified to teach millions of people the Bible!

Most of today’s leaders hold the wrong belief that God mainly uses the Scripturally ignorant to do mighty works…because somehow a sound theological education gets in God’s way. Speaking of the Azusa Street revival Brown says-

God had not chose an established mission where this could be done. They were in the hands of men; the Spirit born again in a humble ‘stable’ outside ecclesiastical establishments. God often moved through homely and unlikely vessels to show us we do not have it all.

He goes on to speak about Jesus choosing fishermen and a tax collector and not the religious leaders of His day. What Mr. Brown does not seem to understand is that these ignorant fishermen and tax collector, did not remain in the condition of spiritual or Scriptural ignorance for long.

To begin with they were Jews, and as such they had memorized the first five books of the law since childhood. Secondly, these ignorant simple folks, spent seven days a week for a little over three years with the Lord God, the Living Word. They did not take summer vacations away from Christ. In short, the original disciples (who later became apostles) received the most intensive on-the-job Biblical training ever given to any man! The amount of time they spent with Jesus would equate to approximately nine years of schooling. If one spent as much time in seminary as they spent with Jesus one would end up with a Master’s degree and two doctorate degrees. The bottom line: The fisherman might have started out somewhat ignorant, but they did not remain in that condition.

Mr. Browne also chooses to ignore historical fact – all the genuine promotions of the Body of Christ have come at the hands of highly educated, theologically trained individuals. Almost all of the early Church fathers were educated theologians. It was these men who set forth in systematic form the major doctrines of Orthodox Christianity. The Reformation was headed up by two men in particular, Martin Luther and later John Calvin– – – both men of huge intellect and unwavering desire to please God.

The men today’s revivalist’s love to cite were also men of great background, Jonathan Edwards for one, and John Wesley for another. Both of these men saw value in theological education. The Wesley’s started the concept of Sunday school, they were advocates of Biblical learning.

Furthermore, the text today’s revivalists cite like a mantra is Paul’s statement:

1 Cor. 8:1 Now as touching things offered unto idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth.

They will say Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. However, Paul was not stating an either-or principle. One can have knowledge and love, they are not mutually exclusive. This possibility is not considered by those anointed with the revival spirit. They automatically assume if one has theological knowledge then they are devoid of love. Then on top of it, the same “loving” leaders heap aspersions upon those who do not agree with them!!

If this is an example of a heightened passion for Jesus then they can keep it to themselves, because it does not seem to be the fruit of the spirit the Bible speaks of.

Chapter 2

A Personal Testimony

On Wednesday August 20, 1997 my wife and I attended the Signs and Wonders Conference in Toronto held by Rodney Howard Browne. The first words out of his mouth were a mockery of those in traditional non-charismatic Protestant churches. Because their worship is different from his, the length of their services is shorter, the emphasis is placed in other areas he declared them “spiritually dead.” At 9:30 p.m. some people got up and left. As they left Rodney began to ridicule and make fun of them he assumed they were leaving (like many others had been doing in other locations) due to the various bizarre manifestations occurring throughout the sanctuary. He had no earthly idea why those folks were leaving! Then at the offering time he made more snide remarks that now is a good time for others to leave so they can get blessed at some local “eatery.”

None of these comments were called for at all. Rodney is the father of the holy laughter movement and has been drenched in this so-called anointing, yet it has not made him more loving or tolerant to those who differ from him.

Another example of name calling is seen in Pastor John Kilpatrick’s prophecy against Hank Hanegraaff. What was brother Hanegraaf’s crime? He did not (and does not) believe the revival today is of God. So what was the loving response of America’s vortex of revival power, a.k.a. Brownsville Assembly of God? Here is a portion of the text sent to me (Please read appendix One which was sent to me via e-mail)

…And Mr. Hanegraaff, I want to say to you, before you get back on national television and start spouting off at the mouth again about something of which you know nothing of, you’d better be careful, because God said, “Vengeance is Mine. Saith the Lord.”

And I want to say something else to you. If you want to keep any kind of a semblance of a ministry, you better back off from this revival and what God is doing. You better back off, because I’m going to prophesy to you that if you don’t and you continue to put your tongue in your mouth on this move of God, within 90 days the Holy Ghost will bring you down. I said, within 90 days the Holy Ghost will bring you down.

This portion gives a legitimate insight into the gist of the prophetic word to brother Hank.

When the 90 day period was almost over Pastor Kilpatrick repented and said he was in the flesh and asked forgiveness, which I know Hank extended to him long before he asked for it. I trust Pastor Kilpatrick was sincere, but it is curious that it took the Lord all that time to get him to admit he was in the flesh when he made that hideous statement. Keep in mind Kilpatrick was in revival services every night for all those days. He (in his eyes) was in the midst of the direct flow of the Holy Ghost and in the manifest presence of God and yet the Lord could not get through to him to make it right immediately! (I guess a Pharisee might think that he waited as long as he could and upon seeing his word was not going to be fulfilled he had to eat crow. After all hank’s book  Counterfeit Revival was listed as number seven on the bestseller list at Baker Book House in Grand Rapids when I last visited there).

This is simply another example of the leaders, the stewards of today’s mighty revival stooping to name calling and fear tactics. I have personally heard Pastor Kilpatrick of Brownsville, Pastor John Arnott of Toronto, and father Rodney all make cutting remarks of those who oppose the manifestations of the revival.

All of the alleged intimacy with the Lord, and personal ministry by the Spirit to their spirits has not produced the true fruit of the spirit spoken of in the Bible. Where is love? The turning the other cheek? Where is the longsuffering and patience? It is non-existent!

Frankly, it is just such behavior on the part of these leaders which is as much of a stumbling block as are the bizarre manifestations to many people looking at the revival.

Our ministry operates an apologetics/polemics web site (http://www.newdiscernment.org) and we get a great deal of e-mail. I want to cite an example of a typical e-mail from a supporter of the revival. I have withheld the author’s name to spare him any further embarrassment, but I have left his spelling alone:

I am an elder in the body of christ presently involved in the evangelizing of the lost training of leaders and elders relationally, ordaining of elders, church planting, school of ministry,church discipline, imparting the supernatural dimension of the kingdom of god as he leads, restoration of the apostles and prophets, five fold ministry, the tabernacle of david, the prophetic and apostolic movements, restoration theology, etc…each year we recognize, raise, and release hundreds of students through our school and personalized training ministry. no one has to pay for it, no one has to be a part of Your ministry. freely we receive, freely we give, you say that you do not believe in apostles and prophets. I say that you are extremely pharisaical and legalistic, restricting meanings of the scripture to support your contention and frustration to be right first of all, can you honestly disprove of present day apostles and prophets? What scriptures do you wrestle with to support your claims? can you define for me jesus the apostle, the twelve apostles, the post_ascension apostles, the 70 who were apostolic like but not apostolic in like but not apostolic in life, and the many apostles of the spirit today? in our school, we give a fair and plenary approach of the bible defining the bible, the word of god being it’s own interpreter. we teach the restoration of the church and divine order. We teach and train believers in the work of the ministry as recorded in Ephesians 4:11_16; 1 cor. 12, romans 12:4_8 etc…we believe that all expressions of ministry grace belong to the body of christ and flows out of the headship of jesus. not out of religion and legalism. we have confirmed in the ministry numerous ones with the call and anointing of apostleship on them. Understanding well (over 23 years of teaching ministry and a teacher of greek), that apostles are often alluded to as missionaries let me just say that all missionaries do not possess the wisdom, anointing, or calling to apostleship many today, travel to leper camps, food for hunger centers, orphanages, and such yet never understanding the depth or life of an apostle; thus being sent generically overseas to be what the religious bored (no misspelling here) made them to be. Selah! many are taught in cemetaries without the apostolic release of elders and the impartation needed to go ye therefore, holding to their limited degrees of titular authority, professional, and not anointed. and to make matters worse, they are sent out with a piece of paper by a rather staunch, cold, and impersonal advisory bored, assuming that this is the door for their expected avenues. only to operate the ministry from the heights of their lofty intellect, how sad! and you say that there are is no need for apostles? i would like to go on recored as having to say that your dogmatic and schismatic beliefs to further draw the body of christ apart with your Calvinistic,hyper_dispensational,ultra_nebula, pre_millennial theory of ministry is quite comical and obsurd. to think that your primary intentions personally is to re_write and to re_define holy Scriptures.

In one e-mail I was called: (1) dogmatic, (2) schismatic, (3) Calvinistic (I am a Lutheran), (4) hyper-dispensational, (5) extremely legalistic, and (6) extremely Pharisaical. What called for all this vitriol? The simple fact that I do not see what is taking place in the revival services in the context of Scripture. So I do not support the revival on that grounds.

On Saturday August 23rd 1997 I received another response to the web site from a “disciple of Christ” who prayed that I would be born-again. I need to wake up to the fact that the Holy Spirit was using Benny Hinn and what God only uses people who are mentally dead, a.k.a. brain dead!

Chapter 3

Will the Real Pharisee Please Stand Up!

The Biblical Pharisee’s get a negative response from the Lord Jesus, and rightly so. Why did Jesus respond to them in the manner that he did. There are several reasons, and I just want to consider a couple of them. Underlining added for emphasis.

Mark 7:9 And he said to them: “You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions! (NIV)

Matthew 15:6-9 And honour not his father or his mother, he shall be free. thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition. Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.

Here are two examples of why Jesus upbraided the Pharisees of His day. They had added their non-Biblical practices (traditions) to the Scriptures. By dong so they had rendered what God had plainly said in His Word of no effect:

Akuroo, from Greek 1 (a) (as a negative particle) and Greek 2964 (kuroo); to invalidate:_disannul, make of none effect.

Let me ask you a simple question. Who has added unbiblical practices (traditions) to the Word of God and thus reject the plain teaching of Scriptures which do not support such traditions? The answer is quite simple – it is today’s charismatic extremists who have supplanted God’s Word by their practices.

Allow me to cite some of the many man-made traditions used in almost all charismatic ministries which have no basis in Scripture at all.

  • The practice of being drunk in the spirit. this is the belief that the Holy Spirit will come upon a person and render them totally inebriated in the same manner as alcohol does. Please read another pamphlet I wrote entitled: Does the Bible Support A Doctrine of Being Drunk In The Spirit?  There is nothing in the bible at all to even remotely support this tradition of men.
  • The practice of being slain in the spirit There is not one instance in the entire Bible of where hands were laid on another person and their physical body was overcome by a mystical force and they fell to the ground. This is the manner in which 99% of all slaying takes place in services today. Yet this tradition is fully endorsed by all Charismatics, even though there is not one contextual verse to validate this tradition.
  • The practice of holy laughter Again, another non-biblical practice. They know this and appeal to past revivals as validation that this is what happens when the Lord moves by His Spirit. They fail to recognize the past revivals are not the standard by which Christians are to judge faith and practice. The Bible alone is our guide. Those manifestations were spurious in the past and they are spurious today. Again, a tradition of men, not a Biblical practice or godly tradition.
  • The doctrine of sacred dance There are no New Testament examples of god’s people dancing before the Lord as David did. In and of itself dancing may be a legitimate expression of joy on the part of individual believers. But now dancing has become a means by which the presence of God is ushered in by ministers of dance. Dance was never an avenue used in the bible as a means to approach God or as a ritual by which God is enabled to approach His people. Dance in that context is strictly a pagan practice and not a godly one. Again, an example of a doctrine of men. Dance is now also a means to obtain healing, conduct spiritual warfare, and intercede for the lost – – – dance never was used to do any of these thing in the Canon of Scripture. All of these things are regularly practiced in pagan cultures today.
  • The doctrine of restored prophets and apostles It is now commonly taught and practiced that God has restored to the Church the ministry of apostles and prophets. Yet the Bible plainly teaches that these two ministries were foundational Ephesians 2:20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; Once the foundation was laid their ministry was finished. You read of no apostolic succession in the New Testament. You never read of Paul or Peter saying who will receive their apostolic mantle.

Today there are thousands claiming to be prophets and hundreds claiming to be apostles! In total contradiction to the Word of god and the history of the Church. In the past all who claimed such ministries were proven to be flakes and liars. Men and women such as Montanus, Irving, Dowie, and Branham to name a few.

 

  • The Music Ministry as a means to usher in God’s presence Music in charismatic circles is not just an expression of love back to God from His people. It is a mystical tool by which God’s very presence is ushered into a service. It is a tool that transforms the worshiper and takes them into the realm of the spirit. Along with the music and dance is the charismatic concept of rebuilding the Tabernacle of David. Some ministries are striving to build places of praise and dance before the Lord 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. By this work, God will manifest Himself in these locations. Again, total nonsense, mysticism, and extra-Biblical practice/tradition.

These are just a few examples that I know about from my own experience. Many of these things I have not only personally experienced, but have taught others as restored truth. I could add doctrines/traditions of spiritual warfare via other tongues, fasting for spiritual power, revelation knowledge, unique definitions of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, etc…

Who has added traditions to the Bible? Who by their traditions have gone further and further away from Biblical Orthodoxy? It is today’s charismatic extremists, not those who take the sola Scriptura stance!

For today’s charismatic extremist to call others who uphold Christian Orthodoxy as being Pharisaical is simply an unfounded charge meant to divert attention from their departure from the Scripture.

Here is the format of a typical response we get at DMI as we try to reason who those involved in charismania. First, they begin by calling us the usual litany of names. We respond that name calling is not very productive, why not discuss specifics, since we both are Christians. Secondly, they then go into what I term “level two” defense mode and they cite what is fast becoming their favorite verse:

John 21:25 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.

It is now commonly held among many in the sign-gift movement that the Bible does not contain all that Jesus did and taught. Thus how can we say that these manifestations are not of God? Such a belief holds wide open the door which would allow anything not specifically named or shown within the Bible to be seriously considered as being from God! A unique argument, but one that does not stand even a small amount of logic. If you subscribe to such a belief then you must realize that it –

 

  • It impugns the wisdom of God – God obviously left out important examples when He gave us His Word.
  • It denigrates the sufficiency of Scripture – The Bible is no longer the sole guide. There are traditions outside the bible which are valid. How do we know they are valid? Because today’s leaders tell us they are.
  • Subjective fruit – alone has become the means by which these extra-Biblical practices are judged.

Yes, I will admit that the Bible does not contain all that Jesus did or taught. However, I believe wholeheartedly that the bible does contain all I ever need to know about knowing God and about faith and practice. The Reformation was fought over the concepts of sola Scriptura, sola fide, sola gratia, and sola Christus. Now those of us who hold to these hard won truths are considered Pharisees by those who have added to the Scriptures their own traditions of men, and in some cases demons.

What we have taking place in today’s charismatic renewal is a placing of man made traditions on an equal par with the Scripture. This is identical to the Roman Catholic view.

The sad truth of the matter is this – if anyone is guilty of being Pharisaical today it is those in the charismatic revival camp. A camp I was part of for years and I am well aware of the elitist mind set we harbored. We always saw ourselves in terms of being “God’s remnant” or His “overcomers.” We saw ourselves as the “Zion of God” and others as merely being “Jerusalem.” After-all we were “Spirit-filled” and others were just low-wattage Christians. Kind of reminds me of the following text:

Luke 18:11  The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.

Some may say “that is not our attitude,” to which I say “I certainly hope not.” However, with over fifteen years and drinking from the last five moves of the “Spirit”, I have been in enough conventions, private pastor’s seminars, leadership meetings, etc…where this mind set was clearly enunciated.

In closing, I urge that we pray for those who are caught-up in the current frenzy of unbiblical practices, manifestations, and beliefs. May the Lord grant them to see the error of their ways and come back to Orthodox Biblical Christianity.

May we, who by the grace of God, have been spared or delivered out of this darkness respond to our brethren by speaking the truth in love (Eph. 4:15) and correcting those who oppose themselves with a spirit of humility (2 Tim. 2:26).  

Copyright © 2010 Robert S. Liichow

Oringinally Published by Truth Matters Press in 1997 revised 2010

( All colored highlights and some bolding and underlining not in the original)

Appendix

John Kilpatrick’s April 6, 1997 Prophecy Against Hank Hanegraaff and John Kilpatrick’s apology issued to Hank Hanegraaff on June 18, 1997. It looks like John Kilpatrick has a change of heart 74 days into the 90 day Prophecy he issued on April 6, 1997, against Hank Hanegraaff. Does this make John Kilpatrick a false Prophet? You make the call.

John Kilpatrick’s April 6, 1997 Prophecy Against Hank Hanegraaff

And Mr. Hanegraaff, I want to say to you, before you get back on national television and start spouting off at the mouth again about something of which you know nothing of, you’d better be careful, because God said, “Vengeance is Mine, saith the Lord.” And I want to say something else to you. If you want to keep any kind of a semblance of a ministry, you better back off from this revival and what God is doing. You better back off, because I’m going to prophecy to you that if you don’t, and you continue to put your tongue in your mouth on this move of God, within 90 days the Holy Ghost will bring you down. I said, within 90 days the Holy Ghost will bring you down.

John Kilpatrick’s apology issued to Hank Hanegraaff on June 18, 1997

I called you (and by implication, others) a devil and that was wrong. I said, “Let Hank Hanegraaff and all the othe devils, etc” _ that was wrong of me. I ask your forgiveness. When I said “I’m going to prophesy as a man of God that the Lord bring you down in 90 days “ I was not speaking that as a prophet but as a shepherd putting something in the ears of God. I do not say “Thus saith the Lord”, it was a “Thus saith John Kilpatrick,” putting these words into God’s ears in the context of the message I was bringing. Let me reemphasize again that was me speaking….in April I got in the flesh and lashed out at you. I want to emphasize also that I did not wish you any harm personally. I was talking about your ministry, I was saying, “God bring down your platform for crying out and associating us with a cult.” I did not nor do I wish you any harm. I ask your forgiveness if you thought I meant any harm to you personally. Honesty, before the Lord, I had your platform in mind, not the person Hank Hanegraaff. This is by no means to be interpreted as an attempt to wiggle out of a prophecy. I would like to grant you the right to continue to count down the days and continue to comment about the 90 days. It’s ammunition that I gave you in April I only want you to know _ it was me speaking that and not a “thus saith the Lord.”

(As I stated earlier in this booklet, it only took 74 days of intense revival services for the Lord to get through to John Kilpatrick that he was wrong and in the flesh! Amazing, but I am glad the Lord did finally get through to him!)

NOTES

1. Brown, Michael. The End of the American Gospel Enterprise. Destiny Image, 1989.

2. Finney, Charles. Reflections on Revival (Minneapolis: Bethany House), 1979, pg. 94

3. Brown Rodney. Apostles Are Coming. Revival Ministries International 1997 pg. 19

4. Brown, Michael Second Wind, Spring 1997 Pg. 11

5. The statement was too long for this booklet, but the above gives a legitimate insight into the gist of the prophetic word to brother Hank. Taken in part from an e-mail sent to me from the Internet.

6. Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance on the NavPress CD Rom

Oringinally Published by Truth Matters Press in 1997 revised 2010

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Carlton Pearson’s “Gospel” of Inclusion

23 09 2009
Truth Matters Newsletters- November 2006 – Vol. 11 Issue 1 – Carlton Pearson’s “Gospel” of Inclusion – By Rev. Robert S. Liichow and Gary Hand

Discernment Ministries International

Carlton Pearson’s “Gospel” of Inclusion

By Robert S. Liichow

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We were in the car driving to Church a couple of Sunday mornings ago and I turned to our local Public Broadcasting station hoping to hear some classical music. Instead of hearing Chopin, I heard a familiar voice, one I had not heard in many years, that of Pastor Carlton Pearson.

I have personally met and spoken with Carlton years ago when he spoke at Jubilee Christian Church in Detroit (back then he was a mere Word of Faith heretic). Now many years later I heard his voice again, this time applauded as a heretic of a different stripe. Sadly, like all error when left unchecked it grows worse and worse. Paul rightly states in 1 Cor. 5:6 that a little leaven leavens the whole lump, which is why truth so desperately matters. Pearson had gone from espousing the heresy of the Word of Faith cult to being the “poster child” of the false Gospel of Universalism. He has gone from being heretical in many areas of doctrine to being apostate from the One Holy and Apostolic Church.

The reason why this issue of Truth Matters is devoted to Mr. Pearson and his aberrant doctrine is because I believe that the stage is set spiritually for his deviant message to be embraced by a wide audience. Our era has been culturally prepared by Hollywood movies, television programs, radio talk shows, the music industry, liberal politicians, and even some seeker-sensitive leaders to accept Pearson’s revamped message of universal reconciliation. Pearson has a charismatic personality, he is well spoken, fairly well educated, and has a great deal of media exposure. He is currently being used as a force for the darkness of deception that cannot be ignored.

A Little Background on Pearson —

Carlton grew up in a Pentecostal family. On the radio interview, (1) he readily admitted that all his ministerial mentors had absolutely no theological training. He began his public ministry at the age of 16 and unlike his forebears he decided to attend college. Carlton attended Oral Roberts University, graduated from there, and later received an honorary doctorate from Oral. Oral considered Carlton to be his “black” son in the Gospel. At one point Carlton was a member of the Board of Regents at ORU, but was removed due to his aberrant beliefs (which is saying something when one considers the host of aberrant beliefs upheld by Roberts and his ilk). He also served on the College of Bishops of the International Communion of Charismatic Churches, which has also renounced him and his doctrines.

As a WOF heretic, Pearson built up a large following, eventually leading the Higher Dimensions Family Church (HDFC), a mega-church of close to 5,000 members, in Tulsa, OK for twenty years. He was a regular guest on the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN), the 700 Club and was even a guest at the White House during the terms of both Bush Presidents. He is also a Grammy nominated singer and he authored a variety of books and booklets as well as a two-time Stellar Award-winning and Dove Award-nominated recording artist. In short, Pearson was a very big fish in the WOF/charismatic pond. He was influential in bringing T.D. Jakes into the limelight. (2) In all fairness to Mr. Jakes, he does not endorse Pearson today. “Bishop T.D. Jakes told Charisma Magazine that Pearson’s theology is wrong, false, misleading and an incorrect interpretation of the bible. (3)

Pearson also held annual revival conferences entitled “Azusa” at the Maybee Center on the ORU campus and marketed the music CD’s through Integrity Music, which has since pulled his contract and no longer publishes his songs. All the hoi polloi of charismatic stardom attended the Azusa conferences. The speakers included Mr. Benny Hinn, Oral Roberts, Bishop Earl Paulk, Marilyn Hickey and others. The Azusa annual conferences was A financial boom to Tulsa’s local economy by an estimated $10 million each year for the last 14 years. (4)

This man was literally the “golden boy” of Charismania. He had the backing of its elder statesman, Oral Roberts, he was bringing in millions of dollars per year through his congregation, recording and book sales. Pearson was an internationally sought after convention speaker, out-spoken conservative black Republican and a regular guest on TBN.

Yet, today all of this is nothing but a painful memory to Carlton and those who once adored him. Gone are the 5,000 members; he is now down to around 100-200 people in a rented hall. The bank foreclosed on the huge complex, Higher Dimensions Family Church. Gone are the recording and publishing contracts. Gone are the speaking engagements and close friendship he shared with Jakes, Hinn, Hickey, the Crouches and other charismatic glitterati. I seriously doubt that G.W. will be inviting Carlton to the next White House Prayer Breakfast.

What Happened?

Simply this Carlton Pearson stopped believing that God would send any people to hell. He denounced the doctrine of eternal damnation as a false teaching from the HDFC pulpit. News of his new doctrinal stance quickly spread and even after many of his charismatic ministry friends and associates tried to counsel Pearson and get him to recant his position he refused. His counselors, for all their doctrinal errors, knew Pearson was wrong on this point and so severely so they rightly broke fellowship with him. Instead of humbly submitting himself to the orthodox teachings of the Christian Church for two thousand years, Carlton, in a supreme act of pride said the Church has been wrong and that he will restore the “true” Gospel back to the Church!

Pearson states: “A careful study of early church history will show that the doctrine of universal restoration was the prevailing doctrine of the Primitive Christian Church.” History does not show that the doctrine of universalism was held by the Primitive Christian Church as he and others claim. It was Origen in the 3rd century who began to espouse this view as he held to a more allegorical interpretation of Scripture, but it was never held as an Orthodox Church view. (5)

Every cult leader has taken this posture. The entire Church is wrong and now God is restoring biblical truth through him or her.

One does not arrive at this position overnight and although Pearson does not go into great detail as to why he took this heterodox stance, I believe we have enough information to come to the reason why he departed from the faith.

Pearson started off as a member of a Pentecostal church, the Church of God in Christ, which is at best semi-pelegian doctrinally. They preach a form of “decision-theology” when it comes to Salvation. They are very works oriented. One works to get saved and then one must continue with various works in order to stay “saved.” From his childhood, through his time at ORU and then as a pastor he has been driven by works evangelism in the classic Charles Finney frame of mind. (6) Pearson admits as much in his radio interview. Here is a transcript of a portion of that interview:

…and it all came to a head one evening, in front of the television, when my little girl who will be nine next month, was an infant, returning from Rwanda to Uganda, and umm Peter Jennings was doing a piece on it, now Majesty was my little girl and I was watching these little kids with swollen bellies, and it looks like their skin is stretched across their little skeleton remains, their hair is kind of red from malnutrition, the babies are, they got flies in the corners of their eyes and mouths, and they reached for the mother’s breast and the mother’s breast are like pencils, there’s no milk, and I, my little fat faced baby with a plate full and a big screen television, and I said, “God I don’t know how you can call yourself a loving Son of God, and allow these people to suffer this way, and then just suck them right into hell,” which was my assumption, and then I heard a voice say within me, “So that’s what you think we’re doing?” and then I remember I didn’t say yes or no, I said, “that’s what I was taught, we’re sucking them into hell,” I said, “yes” well they need to get saved.” “and how will that happen” “someone needs to preach the gospel to them and get them saved” so if you think that that’s the only way to get saved is for someone to preach the gospel to them and we’re sucking them into hell, why don’t you put you’re little baby down and turn your big screen television, I’ll push your plate away, get on the first plane, well get them saved, um, and I remember this all broken up and in tears, I was very upset, I remember thinking, “God don’t pull that guilt on me, “I’ve given you the best forty years of my life, besides, I can’t save the whole world, I’m doing the best I can, I can’t save this whole world. And that’s when I remembered, I believe it was God saying precisely, “You can’t save this whole world, that’s what we did. Do you think we’re sucking them into hell? Can’t you see, they’re already there?” That’s hell. You keep creating and inventing that for yourselves, I’m taking them into my presence. (7)

Due to the impact of Finney’s Pelagianism, Carlton and multitudes of others within the Church believe they must do something in order to bring about the salvation of the lost. Pearson said further on in this interview that every time he sat down next to someone on a plane he felt compelled to open his Bible in front of them and challenge them regarding their faith (or lack thereof) in Christ. His goal, like that of Campus Crusade For Christ, was to get as many people as possible to repeat the “sinners prayer” with him. He felt guilt when he did not witness in this manner and he also felt guilt when he did witness and people did not respond to his invitation. Keep in mind according to Finney it is the job of the evangelist to compel the lost into the kingdom of Heaven using any means necessary. (8)

Let me state quite clearly, that I believe in the necessity of witnessing our faith to others. We are commanded by Jesus Christ to go into the entire world and preach the Gospel (Mark 16:15). I have no problem with brothers and sisters passing out tracts, knocking on doors, and inviting people to their local church. However, we must keep first and foremost in our mind that salvation is of the Lord (read Psl. 37:39). God uses the foolishness of preaching to draw people to faith in Jesus (read 1 Cor. 1:21). The Bible clearly states that one man plants and another waters, but it is GOD who gives the increase (read 1 Cor. 3:7).

All Roads Lead to Heaven —

Pearson’s problem was that in spite of all his working to “get” people saved, multitudes were not saved. Instead of simply bowing his head and humbly submitting to a loving sovereign God, who although not obligated to saving anyone, is saving multitudes daily through the Gospel…he gets mad and accuses God of being unloving and unjust and allowing multitudes to suffer and in the end sending them to eternal damnation. In fact Pearson is on record making the following statement about God’s righteous judgment: “a God who eternally condemns non-Christians would be worse than Hitler. ‘Hitler killed six million [people], mostly Jews. He is the most despised man in the twentieth century. Is God worse than Hitler, who’s going to burn eternally, endlessly, billions of people?” (9)

Due to his lack of a biblical worldview (see Matt. 7: 26) when confronted by the sad realities of a fallen world Carlton makes the classic mistake and chooses one of God’s attributes, love specifically, over the other. He chooses to see God now only as a God of love and total reconciliation. Pearson states in an interview “I believe that most people on planet earth will go to heaven, because of Calvary, because of the unconditional love of God, and the redemptive work of the cross, which is already accomplished.” (10) In an interview he states:

“Jesus was not a Christian, He was a Jew. God, however, is Spirit and cannot be confined exclusively to any particular religion including Christianity. He’s not Jewish or Christian or Hindu or Buddhist; yet He is all of that if we want or need Him to be, while at the same time, none of it conclusively, because He can’t be and, in fact, is not limited to a person’s or culture’s perception of Him. He loves everybody, He understands everybody, and He has a covenant with everybody—again, whether they know it or not. (11)

He does this at the expense of God’s other attributes such as holiness (see Rev. 15:4); sovereignty (see Isa. 46:10); the wrath of God (see Deut. 32:39-41); the decrees of God (see Isa. 40:13,14; Eph 1:4; etc.). The point is simply this—always remember that our God is perfectly balanced in all His attributes. He is equally; loving, just, merciful, compassionate, righteous, holy, and vengeful of sin at the same time with no aspect of His Person being more pronounced than any other.

Paraphrasing Carlton’s words he states that he heard a voice which told him that we, the Church, were putting people into hell and that God on the other hand was bringing them into His presence. This voice told Carlton that these poor suffering souls were in hell now, while on earth.

It was on this basis of this experience that Carlton began to create a new version of an old heresy he calls “The Gospel of Inclusion.”

The Gospel of Inclusion

Pearson now believes that since God so loved the world and Jesus died for all the sins of the world, then the entire world is already saved. The following comments come from a brother who has written an excellent article on Mr. Pearson. This information is used with Gary Hand’s kind permission:

A. The death of Jesus Christ on the cross and His resurrection paid the price for all of humanity to have eternal life in heaven, without any requirement to repent of sins and receive salvation.

B. Belief in Jesus Christ is not necessary for a person to go to heaven. Salvation is unconditional, granted by the grace of God to every human being.

C. It is presumed that all of humanity will have its destiny in heaven, whether they realize it or not.

D. All of humanity will go to heaven regardless of their religious affiliation, including those who believe in false religions or adopt any other form of religious persuasion, or who have no religious persuasion.

E. Only those who have “tasted of the fruits” of real intimacy with Christ and have “intentionally and consciously rejected” the grace of God will spend eternity separated from God.

F. There are persons in some type of hell, but the emphasis is “to get away from the picture of an angry, intolerant God. I don’t see God that bitter.”

The Nature of God

Carlton Pearson’s difficulty begins with a flawed concept of God in relation to man. In presenting aberrant doctrines, the attempt is always made to define the nature and character of God as less than who He is, and to raise the level of the nature and character of man to a position which he is not entitled. A wrong view of God leads to a wrong view of Jesus Christ, a wrong view of the Holy Spirit and eventually to a wrong view of the elements of salvation.

Through his claim that the God, traditionally believed by orthodox Christians, is a bitter God, Carlton Pearson sets up a “straw man” argument or a false premise, against which he argues and makes his claims. He does the same by defining the reason for God’s anger being bitterness on His part, which is a human characteristic but not one of god. He wishes to disassociate himself from those who he claims believe in this “bitter God” that he created, for sake of argument, “to get away from the picture of an angry, intolerant God. I don’t see God that bitter,” Choosing his words poorly, he intimates that he actually does believe in a “bitter” God, because to state that God is not “that bitter” is to assume that He is bitter to a lesser degree. Orthodox belief would deny that God is bitter and would state that a bitter God has never been a tenant of true Christian doctrine. In setting up his false argument, he makes a claim against orthodox belief that is not true, and at the same time places himself in a position where he affirms, by his own words, that he accepts a belief in a bitter god who is just not “that bitter.”

He seems to believe that God’s intolerance of sin and consequent anger expressed against it, an taught in the bible and found in orthodox belief, is equated with bitterness. By his acceptance of a bitter God himself, he assigns to God a deviant human characteristic which is the result of a fallen nature, and at the same time denigrates the character and integrity of God by assuming that He acts on the same level as human beings.

Carlton Pearson, by an ever-so-subtle method, begins to teach about a different God than is found in the Bible. He teaches about a God who is less than is His Holy nature, and by just a slight degree, is closer to the nature of humanity than the Bible reveals. So the character and nature of God is lessened by that small step which will lead to a greater lessening of the character and nature of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, and a consequent vast change in the nature of salvation.

Jesus Christ

The question that is presented in Carlton Pearson’s doctrine, which has been discussed and answered many times, is, “For whom did Christ die?” Carlton Pearson would answer that He died for every person in the world that ever lived and will ever live. At the same time he would claim that the death of Christ was also efficacious (effective) for every person in the world that ever lived and will ever live. By that claim, he then states that all men are saved and going to heaven as a result of the death and resurrection of Christ, regardless of their religious view, even if they do not know or believe in Jesus Christ.

However, in his theology, the majority of human beings, who are saved and going to heaven, are second class persons in the heavenly scheme of things, because those who are a “Born Again Believer” and are the “sanctified” individuals through a specific belief in Jesus Christ, are also “set apart to and for special service, ranking and relationship both with and to The Lord Jesus Christ…,” which he claims is taught in 1 Corinthians 1:2. (This is strikingly similar to the Trip To Heaven dream that Jesse Duplantis claimed to have, in which there are two catagories of Christians, where the weaker ones must smell the leaves of the Tree of Life in order to get strength.) So, his theology becomes apparent: salvation is given to every human being, unconditionally through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, because, a personal relationship or faith in Jesus Christ is not necessary to obtain salvation. However, sanctification, or the setting apart to a higher ranking, is accomplished by a specific belief and relationship with Jesus Christ. This is the absolute reverse of orthodox belief. Since Carlton Pearson claims to have this belief and relationship with Jesus Christ, he presumes to be set apart, ranked higher and anointed to a higher level than the normal, every day person who is simply going to heaven on a scholarship.

Salvation

The difficulty in Carlton Pearson’s theology is that it turns salvation on its head. He claims that salvation is granted to every human being, unconditionally. This salvation is granted at birth, because the ultimate destination of every human being is presumed to be heaven. Even those who believe in another religion or another god are saved; they just don’t know it.

The death of Christ made it possible for God to accept sinful man, and that he has, in fact, done so. Consequently, whatever separation there is between man and the benefits of God’s grace is subjective in nature and exists only in man’s mind and unregenerate spirit. The message man needs to hear then, is not that he simply has a suggested opportunity for salvation, but that through Christ he has, in fact, already been redeemed to God and that he may enjoy the blessing that are already his through Christ.

Carlton Pearson, Jesus: The Savior of the World

Even though the Bible states that man is estranged from God and requires redemption through belief in Jesus Christ, John 3:18, Carlton Pearson claims that this estrangement is only in the mind of man and that all man needs to do is realize that he is already saved, rather than needing to be saved. As a result of this view, Carlton Pearson states that Romans 5:12-21 supports his belief, claiming that the apostle Paul taught the gospel of Universal Reconciliation. He then claims that faith in Jesus Christ does not accomplish salvation, but brings about sanctification or the setting apart of a person from the rest of the crowd who are going to heaven. So, the object of faith is still Jesus Christ, but the purpose is not to secure salvation but to obtain sanctification. He teaches that belief in Jesus Christ, or being “Born Again,” gives a person special status and an exalted position over other persons. This is a major difference between his belief and orthodox belief. It is at the point of salvation that Carlton Person departs from the faith and proceeds to define, on his own terms, the means by which salvation can be obtained. He says that salvation is granted by God through means of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ to all human beings, even through they may not know or even care about the events. Salvation, in his theological system, is unknown to the majority of human beings, but they are saved just the same. He claims that those human beings who do learn about Jesus Christ and are consequently “Born Again,” receive sanctification and not salvation, because they have already been saved through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

The salvation claimed by Carlton Pearson is simply a given entity. It is possessed by every human being without their knowledge. However, this is not what the Bible teaches. Salvation is not possessed by default, but is obtained in a specific manner, by a process which may be slow or quick, but it is a process of obtaining knowledge about Jesus Christ. You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” 2 Timothy 3:14-15. Apostle Paul “But what does it say? The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart’ –that is, the word of faith which we are preaching, that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.” Romans 10:8-10. The apostle Paul teaches a different message regarding salvation than does Carlton Pearson. Paul did not preach a gospel of universal reconciliation applied to all, but a specific gospel to be universally preached to all. The difference is quite profound. The gospel of Universal Reconciliation is not the gospel taught by the apostle Paul. Salvation, according to the apostle Paul, is not automatically granted and is not possessed by people from birth.  Salvation must be found and it is obtained through faith in Jesus Christ. It is at the point of faith that it is granted, not by default or by inheritance. Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves ‘the circumcision” (that done in the body by the hands of men) remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ. Ephesians 2:11-13

The apostle Paul was teaching a radically different gospel than that claimed by Carlson Pearson. The apostle Paul was teaching that those Christians, who were Gentiles, had formerly been separate from Christ, without hope and without God while in the world. They did not have salvation until they were brought near through the blood of Christ. The same view is taught by the apostle Paul in Ephesians 4:18. The gospel of Universal Reconciliation is not taught by the apostle Paul and the claim that he does teach such a doctrine is false.

What Carlton Pearson teaches is a difference means of salvation, provided in a different manner, than is found in traditional orthodox belief or in the Bible. The grace of God in salvation is redefined to be the granting of it to all human beings. Faith is redefined as applying to sanctification and not to salvation. Faith is not necessary to obtain salvation in his theological system because it is automatically provided by God to every human being. Everything changes in the gospel of Carlton Pearson. God is less than He is, grace is devalued, faith is not directed to the saving work of Jesus Christ on the cross and as such, the Jesus Christ of his theology is not the Jesus Christ of the Bible.

In Carlton Pearson’s theology, if Christ died for every person in the world that ever lived or that will ever live, then His death and resurrection must have been efficacious for all of those individuals. In other words, they were all saved at the point of His death and resurrection, when the penalty for their sins was paid. Since this must be the case, if Christ died for every person in the world, then what accounts for his claim that some who were saved when Christ died and rose from the dead for them, lose that salvation at a future date? He presumes that those who have “tasted of the fruits” of a real relationship and intimacy with Jesus Christ and have “Intentionally and consciously rejected” that relationship and grace, will spend eternity separated from God. The reality is, that in Carlton Pearson’s doctrine, the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ was not sufficient to secure salvation for every person in the world, and in fact, He died and rose again for people who have salvation for a time in their life, but reject it and will not be saved when all is said and done. So, by definition, they were not granted a universal salvation by God and were not saved, since they are separated from God at their death. Salvation is no salvation if it does not actually save. Carlton Pearson redefines and devalues salvation to mean simply going to heaven. In that context, it is easy to lose salvation since it is just the act of going to heaven. However, in orthodox belief, going to heaven is a fringe benefit of the act of salvation, which is a reconciliation of man to God. Salvation is much more than just going to heaven, and, as such salvation is truly what the term signifies; being kept secure by God Himself. It is a difficult concept to claim that Jesus Christ died for those who deliberately reject His placement of salvation on their lives. However, this goes very well with most charismatic belief, because it is a common thread in those doctrinal systems that salvation can be lost at any point. Just how a person is supposed to know at what specific point that occurs, is not specified.

In his theological system, human beings have no say or control over being ranted a universal salvation by God. It is given without their knowledge or consent. However, human beings obtain control over the possession of their salvation if they are told the gospel message (as Carlton Pearson define it) and reject it after having “tasted of the fruits” of a relationship with Jesus Christ, whatever that is defined to be. Fro the majority of people in Carlton Pearson’s theological system, God is sovereign in their salvation, in that they are going to heaven whether they know it or not, even if they might reject that destination if they were told. For the others, who have been told the gospel and “tasted of the fruits” of a relationship with Jesus Christ and rejected that message, they are able to break God’s sovereignty over their eternal destination and take from themselves the ability to determine their own destiny. The question must be asked, “Is God sovereign or is man sovereign? In Carlton Pearson’s theology, man is master and God becomes the victim. At one point, God grants salvation, but at another point that salvation has no effect and the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is pointless, and is powerless to maintain the salvation given.

Even in his own theological system, it would be better if Carlton Pearson would stop preaching his gospel, because the person who does not hear his gospel will not have the opportunity to reject the message and be separated from God as the result. If they do not hear the gospel and reject it, they will go to heaven. Preaching Carlton Pearson’s gospel to a person is, in reality, doing that persona disfavor by presenting to them the option of choosing to be separated from God. Truly, in his theological system, ignorance is bliss, because to be without knowledge of Jesus Christ will assure a person of a place in heaven. Again, what Carlton Pearson claims is the opposite of orthodox belief and what the Bible actually says. Salvation, according to the Bible, is obtained by hearing the gospel and placing faith in Jesus Christ, while damnation is not to hear the gospel or reject the gospel.

In Carlton Pearson’s theology, God grants salvation to every human being on an unconditional basis. The granting of sanctification is conditional, based on the choice of the individual. So, the major aspect, which is salvation is unconditional, which the minor aspect, sanctification, is conditional. In higher education, one spends the majority of time on their major, or the chief area of their study, and the minority of their time on their minor, or the secondary area of their study. In this theology, the major becomes the minor; the minor becomes the major and the individual majors on the minor element, which is sanctification. God and Jesus Christ have gone to the limit in order to provide salvation for humanity, but in this system it is simply granted, even to those who are ignorant of its provisions. But at the minor point of the issue, that of sanctification, the choice is given to continue in the belief or choose separation from God. The great work of Jesus Christ in His death and resurrection is relegated to an insignificant part of the life of a person, while the work of the Holy Spirit in bringing about sanctification is elevated to the major portion of a person’s life to such a degree that a person’s decision on that more minor element determines whether a person will be separated from God or will go to heaven. This is a theological system turned upside down in which a person is forced to major on the minors and minor on the majors.

The glaring fault in Carlton Pearson’s teaching is that he creates two classes of people who are going to heaven. There are the ordinary people, who have never heard of Jesus Christ or have another religious belief, and there are the “sanctified” persons who have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and are set apart to a higher level. The difficulty is apparent, in that the first class of people is going to heaven in the same spiritual condition in which they live on this earth. Nothing has changed, because they are ignorant of Jesus Christ, believe in other false religious systems or have no religious belief at al. The Holy Spirit has never worked in their lives and they have never been spiritually changed in order to conform to the image of Jesus Christ.

Carlton Pearson has a gross misconception regarding the elements of salvation. Salvation is not about just going to heaven. If a person could obtain salvation without sanctification, then heaven would be filled with the same sinful, reprobate people in their same sinful reprobate condition, that inhabit this world, which is what his new theology allows.

In Carlton Pearson’s theology, not only is the method by which salvation is obtained redefined, the nature and composition of salvation itself is redefined and the elements of that salvation are detached from each other. Carlton Pearson assumes that salvation is going to heaven, but there is much more to it than just going to a pleasant place when one dies. Even if there was no such place such as heaven, salvation would still be a necessity because the issue of salvation is about the reconciliation of human beings to God, from whom they are separated.  Reconciliation is not accomplished by going to heaven, but by means of the elements of salvation in which God demands accountability by man to the provision made by Jesus Christ by His death and resurrection, through faith, repentance, regeneration, justification, adoption and sanctification, those elements being accomplished through the work of the Holy Spirit. These elements constitute the totality of salvation and cannot be separated. It is not possible to obtain salvation without salvation without accomplishing sanctification, just as it is not possible to enter heaven without all of the elements being accomplished in the life of the believer.

Salvation in the Scriptures, is granted as a result of faith; that faith being exercised toward the person and work of Jesus Christ on the cross and His subsequent resurrection. Faith has always been the means by which salvation was granted, even in the Old Testament, as Hebrews chapter 11 shows. To accept Carlton Pearson’s view of salvation is to conclude that one possesses salvation by virtue of simply being human. Presumably if one is born, one has salvation. That is the disaster in his theology. To presume that one has salvation when one does not, is to be lost and damned to an eternity in hell, without the presence of God. Heresy leads to damnation because to preach a wrong gospel about salvation is to preach a damning message to those who would believe it.

According to Carlton Pearson, the orthodox Christian church has gotten the salvation message all wrong for 1900 years and he has finally been the one to discover the truth and set everyone and everything straight. In a sense, he is maintaining the old apostasy theory that claims the early church believed one thing, but at some point that belief was changed and the church became apostate. He has now come along to end that system of apostasy and restore the truth of the real gospel as he has discovered it. The Apostle Paul, whose teachings were the first to be referred to as heresies in Acts 24:24, was the first to teach the message of Universal Reconciliation, as he tried to convince Jews and Jewish Christians that the Gospel was inclusive of all of Humankind and not confined to a so-called ‘faithful few.” Subtly trying to compare is situation with the apostle Paul, he intimates that the claims of heresy brought against his teachings are similar to those in Acts. However, he misrepresents the charges of heresy brought against Paul, because they were not charges from within the Christian community, but from the old Judaistic religious system that was abolished on the death of Jesus Christ.

“A careful study of early church history will show that the doctrine of universal reconciliation was the prevailing doctrine of the Primitive Christian Church.” It is clear from the Scripture that this was not the prevailing doctrine of the early church. To claim otherwise is simply a perversion of the Scriptural record and the historical record as well.   Carlton Pearson’s approach is mirrored by the claims of Joseph Smith in Mormonism, who is considered to be “The prophet of the restoration, “John Thomas of the Christadelphians and Charles Taze Russell of the Jahovah’s Witnesses, who all claim that the Christian Church has been wrong all along, but they and only they, by their own brilliance or by a revelation uniquely given to them, have discovered the truth. The absurdity of Carlton Pearson’s claim, according to its own system of theology, is, it does not matter what a person believes; they are going to heaven anyway. So, even if the orthodox church got the message wrong, everyone is still going to heaven. In point of fact, it is not even necessary for there to be preachers to give a message, a church to attend or a religious belief to hold, since all men are going to heaven regardless of what they may or may not believe. If Carlton Pearson were true to his theology, he would have to admit that his job as a pastor or evangelist is completely unnecessary.

Carlton Pearson wishes to preach about a kinder, gentler God than is actually revealed in the Scripture. He wishes to redefine God in a manner that suit’s the message that he wishes to preach, rather than reveal the true character and nature of God. He wishes to do the same with Jesus Christ, so he states, “It is my objective to simply represent Jesus in a softer and more loving way, being less excluding and more “inclusive” in His love, tolerance, acceptance, and glorious promise to all.”

Redefining God in the image of Carlton Pearson is his goal, in order to present a gospel that people want to hear. It is a gospel in which they can go to heaven just like they are. It is a gospel in which people are presumed to be worthy of heaven in the condition that they find themselves. It is a gospel in which they can excel to higher levels through the message of sanctification by faith, never dealing with the sin and depravity in their soul.

Carlton Pearson is adopting a gospel that is strangely reminiscent of Robert Schuller and his positive thinking theology. Robert Schuller took a survey and asked people what message they wanted to hear. They told him what it was, and he now preaches the comforting homilies of a positive self-image and high self-esteem. Salvation, according to Robert Schuller, is the adoption of a gospel of self-love, a positive self-image and high self-esteem that is sufficient to approach God. This is a gospel of arrogance, presuming that a person has the right to stand before God based on their own definition of adequacy. Claiming that the apostle Paul taught a negative message, Robert Schuller states that he does not preach the message of the apostle Paul. He takes upon himself the authority to determine what is important to preach from the Bible, and as such, he places himself in a greater position of authority than God, who is the author of all Scripture.

Carlton Pearson has adopted Robert Schuller’s popular approach, wishing to eliminate from his theology what he considers to be a negative message. The gospel message that repentance of sins and the acceptance of Jesus Christ as Savior will deliver a person form the judgment of God, is hard to understand. However, when salvation is given to every human being at birth, there is not much of any other message that can be preached.

Placing himself in the position of authority over the message of the gospel established by God, he assumes that he has the power to redefine God, Jesus Christ, and salvation in the manner that best suits his true ultimate goal of extending the boundaries of his ministry. His new “doctrine” came about, not as a result of a desire to present doctrinal purity, but in order to extend the appeal of his ministry to a vast group of people who do not wish to hear or know about a gospel in which sin must be realized and confessed in their lives. As such, he teaches a gospel that says, “I’m ok. You’re ok. We’re all ok.” To that end, Carlton Pearson has created his own gospel, just as Robert Schuller has created his. He is taking a calculated risk, willing to lose some followers now in order to appeal to a greater number as time goes on.

Carlton Pearson wishes to see himself as the leader of a new theological approach, redefining God, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, salvation and sanctification. He looks to himself as the head of the movement and to others in order to provide a foundation for his beliefs, pointing toward those who call themselves “Universal Reconciliationists,”  with similar views. He uses the trendy terminology, that is so overused in charismatic circles today, that is supposed to assign a high level of importance and intellectual credence to what is being stated, indicating that a “paradigm shift” in thinking identifies his theological system, hoping to convince other people that he is doing great and mighty things.

Paradigm shifts, no matter how they are defined by their proponents, must adhere to the teachings in the Scripture, otherwise, like Carlton Person’s “new” theology, they are simply the old heresies wrapped in another package.

Today, Mr. Pearson speaks in a rented hall, his mega-church property having gone into foreclosure. Seated before him are no long thousands of sign-seeking WOF cultists. Instead his “congregation” includes people dressed in Muslim clothing, openly homosexual people, some Unitarian cult members and just a handful of people from HDFC who sadly have been thus far deceived into believing the apostate Pearson’s seemingly kinder false gospel.

I cannot say whether or not Pearson was ever a genuine Christian, God only knows. I can say that one cannot deny the unique redemption that is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone to be a member of Christ’s Body. On the following page I have cited just a few of the biblical texts that Mr. Pearson seems to have either forgotten or has attempted to redefine. Like we used to say “there is a heaven to gain and a hell to shun.”

A Few Biblical Verses to Share With Those Who Believe In Universal Atonement

Psalm 21:9 Thou shalt make them as a fiery oven in the time of thine anger: the LORD shall swallow them up in his wrath, and the fire shall devour them.

Matthew 3:21 Whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.

Matthew 23:23   Ye serpents ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?

Matthew 25:33,41   And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory. And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on is right hand, but the goats on the left…Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:

Mark 16:16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

Luke 13:3 I tell you, Nay: but except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.

Romans 12:2 For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law;

1 Cor. 6:9-10  Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.

2 These 2:10-13 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that the should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. But we are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:  ♦

Copyright ©  2006 Robert S. Liichow

End Notes:

1. The interview is available on the internet on various web sites. The program is called “This American Life” hosted by Ira Glass. To hear it one can go to http://www.audible.com or other sites.

2. Mr. Jakes, as DMI and other ministries have been warning the Church, is an anti-Trinitarian and teaches a unique syncretism of WOF error, prosperity nonsense and feel-good psycho-babble. Mr. Jakes leads The Potters House in Dallas, TX. A congregation with over 15,000 members.

3. Obtained from http://www.evangelizeamerica.org/general/carlton%20pearson.htm.

4. Charisma magazine, Feb. 2000, People & Events section.

5. Obtained from an article on Pearson found at http://www.letusreason.org/Curren35.htm on 12-31-05

6. Charles Finney was a heretic who, unfortunately, has had a great impact on today’s so-called evangelical movement. Truth Matters has exposed him as a wolf in sheep’s clothing and there are many web sites devoted to demonstrating that Finney was not a genuine Christian.

7. Transcribed from the audio version of This American Life by Dominique Liichow who labored long over her Christmas vacation to help with this edition of the newsletter.

8. We have Finney to thank for the concept of the anxious bench” and “altar calls.” According to Finney, man has totally free will to receive or reject Christ it is up to the skill of the evangelist to make the message as appealing or powerful as possible. I have seen coffins on the platform with people laying in them, a bugle is blown and only 1 man rises, and then the evangelist shouts “I’ll count to 10 and if you want to rise when Jesus returns like this man run to the alta…” Other evangelists will literally turn up the heat in the building as they preach about hell and the need for Christ. Such tactics leave no place for the true work of the Holy Spirit.

9. From This American Life radio interview and it can also be found at http://www.letusreason.org/Curren35.htm as of 12-30-05

10. http://www.evangelizeamerica.org/general/carlton%20pearson.htm obtained on 12-30-05.

11. http://www.beliefnet.com/story/127/story_12772_1.htm#cont  obtained on 12-30-05.