Why DMI Does What It Does

27 07 2012
Truth Matters Newsletters – July 2012 – Vol. 16 Issue 7 – Why DMI Does What It Does

 Discernment Ministries International

 Why DMI Does What It Does

By Rev. Robert S. Liichow

“We praise God that, despite the large amount of poison, He still saves so many people at the same time we remember our sacred duty to witness against every false doctrine whenever we can.”  CFW Walther, Essays for the Church, Volume 1, 178.

I was recently at Concordia seminary, Fort Wayne explaining to their Vicarage Department why I was no longer pursuing a position as a pastor within the LCMS. Instead I shared with Professor Pulse the great need to (1) educate God’s people of the dangers from within and without and (2) to the need to help equip the sheep with the biblical tools they need to give a defense for what they believe. I shared that my goal was to continue the fruitful ministry the Lord entrusted to me by hopefully starting a ‘Recognized Service Organization’ (RSO) within our Synod dedicated to warning, educating and equipping congregations within the LCMS about the dangers impacting the church. Professor Pulse agreed there was (1) currently no one doing this type of outreach and (2) there is indeed a great need for such work.

I was however disappointed to learn that the two Apologetics/counter-cult type courses that were offered to pastors in training are no longer offered at any Lutheran seminaries. What is more I have yet to work with any congregation that was well educated and equipped regarding the current trends sweeping away many souls.

For over sixteen years I have dedicated my meager abilities to “Teach Truth and Expose Error” and it has been at times exhilarating as well as very depressing. Exhilarating in that I have seen many people come out of doctrinal darkness and false practice by the grace of God. Depressing, because of the lack of support from local churches and individuals in battling the very things that are destroying them!

For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God. Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock over which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore, watch, and remember that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears. Acts 20:27-31

The Field of Battle Is Two-Fold

From Without-

Paul in his address to the Ephesian elders warned them of the battle to come when he departed. Nature abhors a vacuum, and evil spirits know how to make the most of a “clean and swept” house (see Matthew 12:45). One avenue to assault against the sheep is from outside of the Church that Paul designates as “grievous wolves” —

To begin with cultic activity is pandemic in the world. Christianity is no longer merely competing with the views of the major world religions (Islam, Buddhism, Judaism, etc.). Today, the Church is competing with literally 1,000’s of new belief systems, many of which are very sophisticated technologically and extremely evangelistic in delivering their message.

These non-Christian cults have multitudinous websites, Blogs, Public Access television programs, cable programs in the form of infomercials and a growing army of devotees actively spreading their version of salvation. A good example would be the church of Scientology. A highly published Christian Apologist was told by Zondervan Publishing House, the largest Christian book publisher in the world, to remove the chapter he had written about Scientology, simply because that cult is too powerful and they have the capability to sue organization into bankruptcy (this is what happened to the Cult Awareness Network, which is now owned and operated by Scientologists). Due to the many high profile musicians and movie actors in Scientology their cult is growing in popularity and power. What is your church doing to combat their false message? Ask yourself a simple question, “is my church equipping me to biblically and effectively challenge their beliefs”? When was the last time your church offered a course or seminar on the cults, their beliefs and how to refute them from a loving biblical perspective?

Do the brothers and sisters you worship with weekly understand what Islam believes? Do they know its history, why the Shiites fight the Sunni and both of them fight the Sufis. We may have a Latter Day Saint for a President of the nation. It might surprise you to learn that Christians have more in common with Islam than we do with Mormonism—is your church educated to know why this is true?

The church is currently under a massive attack from without. Not just the overt non-Christian cults, but also by our culture. The homosexual movement has been growing by leaps and bounds. It was not that long ago when being a homosexual was one of society’s darkest secrets. Not only was it a shameful secret, but was classified as a psychological ailment and a crime of sexual deviancy in most states. In less than twenty years (20) homosexuals are touted as ‘normal’ and thus should (and do) have the same rights as heterosexual citizens. Gay pride floods our parades, our military and virtually every television sitcom has at least one openly queer character.

Our own government has been moving in rapid fashion against the Church under the Obama regime. The church is going to be forced to pay for birth control pills and abortions. Bible believing Christians are now listed as potential terrorists by our government. Do not be surprised if/when they rescind tax breaks for Churches. Obviously, Hollywood television programs and movies, the music industry conspire to works against the cause of Christ. When was the last time you saw a Christian portrayed in a good light in a film or program? Ask yourself, are you, your church family and friends biblically prepared to give an answer for the hope that is within you (see 1 Peter 3:15)?

From Within-

What is even more troubling is the rapid expansion of heresy and aberrant teachings within the Church. What’s worse is that the vast majority of this nonsense flows from America! Never in the history of the Church have the people of God suffered from such a massive infestation of false teachers, false prophets and false apostles.

The “Christian” bookstore has become one of the most spiritually dangerous places for the child of God to set foot in. The list of Christian best selling books include such titles as Good Morning Holy Spirit, The Divine Revelation of Hell, God Calling, The God Chasers, Heaven Is Real and other books filled with false teaching, blasphemy and in many cases outright lies.

“Christian” Television offers the world a perversion of what it means to be a true disciple of Jesus Christ. TBN, a global network, serves up a regular diet of heresy and error through people such as Jessie Duplantis, Joyce Meyer, Creflo Dollar, Benny Hinn, Kim Clement and others. Televangelism is alive and well on the airwaves proclaiming a false gospel of health & wealth. Peter Popoff, Don Stewart, Kenneth Copeland, Marilyn Hickey and Robert Tilton (to name just a few) are still broadcasting on a regular basis and raking in close to a combined BILLION dollars a year to support their lavish lifestyles (wonder why Senator Grassley was interested in some of these Gospel pimps?).

The televangelists do not provide any financial reports, but it is estimated based on what has been revealed that altogether they siphon off close to a billion dollars a year tax-free from legitimate Christian work. Where does this money go? It goes to pay for mansions, private jets (many televangelists own several), running their SINistry machines. Very little goes to feed the hungry, build orphanages, medical clinics, locally based outreach, etc. These people promise much, but they deliver nothing but false and unfulfilled promises.

The elderly, infirmed, work-at-home mom’s & dad’s represent the “mission” field of the televangelists. These Christian folks, who are lonely, want some “Christian” teaching & fellowship have no choice except to watch and be influenced by a myriad of false teachers, prophets, apostles, brethren and false evangelists. If such viewing comprises the majority of spiritual input, then it makes sense that these people would be deceived into believing what they see and hear — because the televangelists ALL preach the same errors on television, ergo they ‘confirm’ their own doctrines by pointing to one another as additional witness (see 2 Cor. 13:1). I have relatives who actually go to sleep with TBN on!

The problem with the people who have risen up among us speaking perverse things is that we live in a time when pointing this out is politically incorrect and this notion has crept over into the Church in a big way. The lambs of our Lord suffer under these blind guides because the leaders in the Church are very busy perfecting their place in the monkey line —” see no evil hear no evil speak no evil,” others are working on Oscar winning performances akin to “Sgt. Shultz” on television who was known for saying “I know nothing” when questioned about questionable activities.

Some swimming in the river of denial say “let the Lord handle it,” or “I’m taking the high ground and walking love towards them” — all-the-while people are being misled regarding who our Lord Jesus Christ is, what He did, what is our response to be to Him for His great gift, etc. By keeping silent error increases. The apostle Paul rightly said to the Galatians regarding the false teachers assaulting their faith:

Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth? This persuasion cometh not of him that calleth you. A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump. Gal. 5:7-9

These folks were hindered from obeying the Lord because they listened (how faith comes) to false teachers. Paul warns them that the little leaven (error) will infect the entire loaf unless dealt with.

 A few years back Tracy and I marveled at the ignorance of a leading charismatic pastor, John Arnott, who answered a question regarding spiritual deception in this manner, “I have more faith in God’s ability to bless than in Satan’s ability to deceive,” words to that effect. Arnott got many hearty ‘halleluiahs’ from the crowd for his pious sounding words. But what sayeth the Scripture?

The Satanic Six Fold-Ministry

When I start out as a young charismaniac the teaching of that day was about the “five-fold ministry.” This is taken from Paul’s letter to the Ephesians and buttressed with a few other texts:

And he gave some, apostles; and some prophets; and some evangelists; and some pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ. Eph. 4:11-12

Sign-gift people are restorationists and as such believe that today’s Church is supposed to operate exactly like the early Church but with more power in these last days. They believe that God has restored back to the Church the specific office of the (1) Apostle, and (2) Prophet. The other three (3) Evangelist, (4) Pastor and (5) Teacher have always been with the Church. This teaching goes as far as to declare that unless a local congregation receives spiritual input from all five ministry gifts they will remain deficient and non-effective in the last great outpouring of God’s Holy Spirit and power. Many books have been written regarding the work of the restored five-fold ministry and this concept (which is wrong for many reasons) is widely held by countless sign-gift folks. They believe for example, that the apostle is one who operates in all the other four ‘offices.’ I would like to briefly mention the other side of the coin, which NONE of the charismatic luminaries has touched on to any great degree; that of the demonic counterfeits.

The False Apostle

Chief Apostle Dr. Eric vonAnderseck believes that the church needs living apostles today to bring the church into the unity of the faith. By his apostolic stewardship the church is again receiving one doctrine of Christ, one faith, and one restored blueprint of truth. Apostle Eric is establishing the true testimony of Jesus Christ as the record of faith to mature the church unto a perfect man, to bring the church to the fullness of Christ. (Eph.4:13)   (2)

God is changing the look and feel of Apostolic and Prophetic ministry as it is now functioning in the church. A new dynamic of the ministry of Apostles and Prophets will soon be revealed through Jesus Christ, the giver of the Five-Fold ministry gifts. Interestingly enough is that the new dynamic is the same pattern given for Apostles and Prophets in the Holy Scriptures. (3)

The ministry of the apostle is the latest act of restoration by the Holy Spirit according to the enthusiasts. My wife and I personally experienced the rise of the apostolic which was “birthed” by the proclamation of the restored prophets! We saw individuals who started out as street evangelists become pastors, who later became prophets and then were elevated to the role of apostle and others who jumped the ranks from pastor to apostle, including one of our former pastors, Ellis Smith. If you Google “prophetic movement” you will get a return of 4,670,000.

According to the enthusiasts the ministry of the apostle is the culmination of the restoration process. They believe that these men and women (although Jesus chose no female apostles, nor did the early church) are the ones through whom God will pour out new revelations, give directions for the Church both locally and globally. These people are the forerunners who will initiate the forthcoming manifestation the sons of God (see Romans 8:19)  by imparting spiritual gifts of power.

One of the most recent examples of this belief was the ‘elevation’ of Todd Bentley to the office of apostle. The whole debacle can be seen and heard on YouTube, simply input ‘Todd Bentley’ and you will get back over 3,800 videos. The fact is this: Mr. Bentley has no legitimate biblical education. He is a convicted child molester, (4), and shortly after his elevation it was discovered that the Church’s newly minted “apostle” was in the midst of a sexual affair with another female anointed vessel. Now a few months later Todd is divorced, remarried and back on the stage with the FULL BACKING of today’s so called restored apostles and prophets (many of whom can be seen on his elevation video prof-a-lying over Todd). (5) There is one good video of Todd where he is rebuked by 4 people during a meeting, which he ignores and belittles, if you get online you can go to the following address and see men rebuking Todd biblically – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y_tRwgItUFo.

These roving wolves are nothing new to the Church. From its inception Satan raised up tares among the pure wheat o0f God to deceive and mislead the sheep; to lead them to hell and not to heaven.

For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works. 2 Cor. 11:13-15

Paul is defending his genuine apostleship against those who were claiming that they were in fact the true apostles to the Corinthians. Three times Paul uses the Greek word

Paul lets us know that these pseudo apostles are people who disguise their true motives; they masquerade as Christians which should not surprise us because Satan and his demons always attempt to appear in an appealing and tempting form. So it is no big mystery that his servants will appear as ministers of righteousness — they will reap what they sow. Our Lord commanded the saints who did not simply “swallow-and-follow” whatever they were taught, but they checked out those who claimed to be apostles:

I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance. I know that you cannot tolerate wicked people, that you have tested those who claim to be apostles but are not, and have found them false. Rev. 2:3

Discernment Ministries International has been putting these people to the test and we have found them to be false apostles and DMI is doing all it can to warn the body of Christ about the grave spiritual danger these frauds present to our spiritual wellbeing. Today’s crop of so-called apostles fails the biblical test set forth in Acts:

Wherefore of these men which have companied with us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, Beginning from the baptism of John, unto that same day that he was taken up from us, must one be ordained to be a witness with us of his resurrection. Acts 1:21,22

What is more, Jesus and the early Church never chose a woman to be an apostle, ergo any women today who claims to hold such a position is obviously extremely deceived and thus deceiving all those who follow her, regardless of how well-intentioned she may be. (7)

This new crop fails the true seal of apostleship in the area of genuine signs and wonders. Paul, in defense of his ministry said:

I am become a fool in glorying; ye have compelled me; for I ought to have been commended of you; for in nothing am I behind the very chiefest apostles, though I be nothing. Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds. 2 Cor. 12:11,12

False Prophets

Today, there is no doubt that God is restoring the prophetic ministry to the church as never seen before. Prophets are springing up from everywhere and people are more than ever aware of the prophetic ministry as never before. (8)

The polemical aspect of the heresiologist’s work is decried by many in the church today. Many people think those of us involved in apologetics, polemics and counter-cult works are simply wasting our time. After all, if someone wants to call themselves a “prophet” what business is it of mine or yours? Christian love demands a response to (1) the lies told in the name of the Lord who saved them and (2) warn the undiscerning to the spiritual danger facing them if they warn the undiscerning to the spiritual danger facing them if they follow these blind guides.

False prophets are the frontline “battle tanks” in Satan’s arsenal. Through them Satan has sent more souls to eternal damnation than through almost any other means. Think a moment — Islam was started by a false prophet. Close to a billion souls, praying five times a day heading towards the pit of destruction. Today Islam is one of the fastest growing religions in the world, and the source of virtually all the world’s current problems. How about Joseph Smith? He convinced many that he was a prophet of our Lord. The result?  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, a cult which is being rapidly accepted as a “sect” within Christianity! None less than Joel Osteen, America’s mega-church pastor, who speaks to millions weekly accepts Mormons as Christians. If Mitt Romney becomes President then expect to see a massive push to mainstream Mormonism into acceptance as part of the Church. Jim Jones took hundreds with him to hell, they died believing he was a prophet.

Today virtually all sign-gift believers (500 million, ¼ of the professing Church today — no small number) believe that God has restored true prophets back to the Church today. While there is no agreement on who is or is not a prophet and no unity regarding the function of today’s prophets they do seem to agree that this is a necessary ministry in order for Christ to return.

 This means that 500 million people believe that God has placed men and women in the Church to hear from God on their behalf, relate these revelations to the recipients and then empower them to fulfill the revelation by imparting ‘the anointing’ to devotee. This means that 1/4th of the Church today is not relying on the Scripture alone to give them guidance, instead they are placing their faith in the words spoken by the false prophets and prophetesses.

It boggles the mind that this many people can accept the word and direction of someone who is not necessarily expected to be 100% accurate (how one knows what to accept or reject is purely subjective). Below is an example of this unbiblical belief (the bible accepts nothing less than 100% accuracy for God’s prophets):

There is a creative realm to prophecy and the prophetic ministry. If you say ‘God, I don’t want to be making this stuff up.” That is doubt!” Now remember that without faith it is impossible to please God. Like any new thing you are trying to learn, it takes time. It takes time to become good at expressing what you see in the spirit. It is because you must sort through all the impressions and prophetic pictures that come to mind. You must take time to learn how to interpret them. If you are going to move in the prophetic ministry, then you must be willing to be made a fool for Christ. Does that sound familiar?  Have you ever done something that you thought you heard God tell you to do?  You must be willing to make mistakes You will learn what not to do through experience. That is the price. (8)

The Prophetic Movement is the hotbed of all forms of enthusiastic excess such as, holy laughter, spiritual drunkenness and the other revivalism nonsense was birthed in prophetic congregations. Today the leaven has spread to now include things such as “prophetic dance.” Dancing certain dances are a form of prayer, will cast out evil spirits, as a form of worship. There is also prophetic prayer, prophetic worship, prophetic mantles and all sorts of pagan practices being accepted as part of legitimate Christian worship! The prophetic (pathetic) movement is a dangerous deception and it is a powerful force to contend with.

False Teachers

As with the other counterfeits that church has always been beset with false teachers. The Apostle Peter warned the church when he wrote:

But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. And MANY WILL follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed. By covetousness THEY WILL EXPLOIT YOU with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber. 2 Peter 1:1-3

The only change today in the fulfillment of this text is that they no longer do it in “secret.” today the false teachers rove the globe spewing forth a myriad of deceptive teachings on physical healing, financial prosperity, the gifts of the Spirit, and redemption itself is twisted by these liars.

These tares are especially dangerous because God’s people have been taught to respect and believe the Bible. However, this is where the average believer often stumbles. Someone stands up and preaches something using biblical texts and says “its in the bible.” What is required on our part is to be well grounded in Christian doctrine. Most Christians are not adequately prepared to properly discern truth from error (what else explains the millions in spiritual bondage today?).

The major televised SINisters preach another Gospel, proclaim another Jesus and offer people another spirit, not the Holy Spirit. Out of a godly concern for the Church on a regular basis DMI exposes the false doctrines of Benny Hinn, Kenneth Copeland, Joyce Meyer, Marilyn Hickey, Creflo Dollar, TBN, Jesse Duplantis, Fred Price, Joel Osteen and a host of others who oppose Christ and themselves. DMI has contacted many of these individuals by registered mail documenting their errors and asking them to recant their false teachings. To date none of them have done so. Having followed Mathew 18 to some extent, DMI now takes the concern to the Church.

False Shepherds

The small letter to Titus gives us some insights into the motivation of the false minister in the following:

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

False shepherds care nothing for the souls that are under their “care.” The sheep on the other hand have a somewhat innate trust in their pastors by virtue of their office alone. They are motivated by greed and pride (which is why so many SINistries are named after their human leader(s). The majority of sign-gift leaders are self-taught and self-appointed; few have any legitimate theological education and training. Tracy and I experienced tremendous spiritual abuse under two Rhema graduate “pastors” ( one man was also a prophet and the other was elevated to role of apostle) and over the years have counseled numerous victims of wolves masquerading as pastors. Ezekiel reveals another key indicator of the false shepherd:

Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God unto the shepherds; Woe be to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! Should not the shepherds feed the flocks?   The weak you have not strengthen, nor have you healed those who were sick, nor bound up the broken, nor brought back what was driven away, nor sought what was lost; but with force and cruelty you have ruled them. So they were scattered because there was no shepherd; and they became food for all the beasts of the field when they were scattered. Eze. 34:1-5

Every charismatic pastor I have known personally have “fed” themselves at the expense of their flocks. This is very evident especially in urban ministries where the pastors all live in as close to a mansion as can be obtained, drive very expensive cars and wear fashionable clothing. However, the people they serve live at or below the poverty level. Due to being literally bewitched by these Gospel pimps the people accept this burden willingly.

False Christ’s

The word of Faith cult has redefined “Christ” to refer to the anointing that was upon Jesus, ergo the text “I can do all things through Christ…” (see Phil.4:13) is read “I can do all things through the anointing” —a BIG difference in meaning. They look to the power of God and not to the God who supplies the power.

We are warned that there would in fact be falsely anointed people who claim by virtue of the accompanying signs and wonders as verification that they speak and work for the Living God.’

For many will come in my name, claiming ‘I am the Christ’ and will deceive many. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that if it were possible they shall deceive the very elect. Matthew 24:5,24

He replied: “Watch out that you are not deceived. For many will come in my name, claiming “I am he,’ and ‘The time is near.’ Do not follow them. Luke 21:8

Few Christians will be deceived into thinking that someone is in fact the Lord Himself (although DMI has covered a few of them out-front antichrists including Sun Myung Moon, the aging ‘Korean’ Jesus and the most recent ‘Hispanic’ Jesus name Jose Luis de Jesus), but they seem to have no problem believing the claims to possess the power of Christ’s Spirit.

Benny Hinn is probably the best known living purveyor of power. After twenty years of holding ’miracle crusades’ the only miracle he can prove is the miracle of people continuing to attend his lame meetings. I can prove under oath in court that more people have physically died during Hinn’s meetings than he has ever healed. In fact, Mr. Hinn who by now should have a Quonset hut full of medical testimonies to divine healing — but he cannot verify one miracle. What is more Hinn is on record as a false prophet, adulterer and a liar (I do not say these things lightly). Yet the multitudes still flock to his meetings. There are many others claiming to impart the power of God. DMI covered the latest crop of deceivers in the last two issues of Truth Matters.

False Brethren

And that because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage: Gal. 2:4

As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him. Titus 3:10

Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son if anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting, for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works. 2 John 1:11

The Church is filled with wheat and tares and while we are commanded to believe the best (1 Cor. 13:7) we are also commanded to be aware of those around us. Sometimes false brethren sit in the pews and after the service they pull individuals aside and begin to discuss what is wrong in that local congregation. Tracy and I have run into people who simply ‘flit’ from church to church causing problems and sometimes splitting congregations.

Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. Romans 16:17

False brethren are probably best considered as the ‘little foxes that destry the vine” (see SoS 2:15) as opposed to the SINisters, who also fall into this category. These are the folks who invite congregation members to their house for a little ‘home Bible study’ apart from the knowledge and direction of the pastor with the goal of sowing discord among the brethren. This is especially true, sad to say, for many ‘sign-gift’ devotees who believe it is their mission to get as many people out of their former denominations by infiltrating their former churches and sheep steal. Perhaps you’ve encountered these people.

In closing this out, let me simple warn you to keep an eye on your youth groups. Why?  Because our youth are directly targeted by charismaniacs. Youth are vulnerable and thus susceptible to wanting anything other than what their parents offer. The enthusiasts know that their future lies with the youth and not their parents. A word to the wise: Keep a sharp eye on what is taking place in/with your youth at church.

We’re very briefly considered some of the main avenues of assaults by Satan and his demons against our Christian family. Probably everyone reading this issue has a relative or friend who is enmeshed in some form of charismatic extremism, some “bible-based” cult, or possibly just a plain ole secularist. Discernment Ministries International was created to help educate and equip the saints of God to make a stand for God’s Word and by Its power rescue those who oppose themselves (2 Tim. 2:25) and are in danger of eternal damnation.

By the grace of God good fruit has been produced by DMI and by His grace in the days ahead we will expand our outreach and continue to Teach Truth & Expose Error!

Copyright © 2012 Robert S. Liichow

End Notes

1. LN Louw-Nida Greek-English Lexicon

2. Obtained from http://www.apostleeric.com on 6-30-12.

3. Obtained from www.apostolicministry.org

4. Understand that I am not saying the Mr. Bentley has not repented of his former sins, or that Jesus has not forgiven him. I bring this up because it is part of the public record and sadly, pedophiles, according to research seldom change, may Christ have genuinely changed Bentley.

5. Prof-a-lie is a term I co8ined to describe the action of an enthusiast standing up and uttering some sweet sounding lies in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

6. James Swanson, Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains: Greek New Testament, electronic ed. (Oak Harbor, Logos Research).

7. Again, I am not making statements regarding anyone’s eternal state before our Lord. He knows, all you and all I can do is to examine their fruit and see if it meets biblical standards. If not they must be rebuked and hopefully restored to soundness.

8. Obtained from www.whatsnewintheprophetic.com/PropheticMinistry

9. Obtained from www.prophetic-ministry.com

10. Johannes P. Louw and Eugene Albert Nida, vol. 1 Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Semantic Domain electronic ed. Of the 2nd edition (New York: United Bible Societies 1996), 415

Advertisements




“Delivered” (Oh Really?)

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

Discernment Ministries International

“Delivered” (Oh Really?)

Rev. Bob Liichow

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Copyright ©2011 Robert S. Liichow

End Notes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

11. Ibid. p. 19

12. Ibid. p. 19

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

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

15. Ibid. p. 20

16. Ibid. p. 20

17. Ibid. p. 21

18. Ibid. p. 21

19. Ibid p. 21

20. Ibid. p. 22

21. Ibid p. 23

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

23. Ibid p. 28





Matthew 13:24-30

21 02 2011
Truth Matters Newsletters – February 2011 – Vol. 16 Issue 2 – Matthew 13:24-30 – The Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany of our Lord, 2011 A.D.   In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost – By Rev. Mark Braden, Pastor Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church

Discernment Ministries International

Matthew 13:24-30

Rev. Rev. Mark Braden, Pastor Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church

The enemy has sown the tares. The devil roams the earth, going back and forth in it. He sneaks around among those in the Kingdom of Heaven. He sows tares among the wheat. That is to say he lies. His only weapon is falsehood. He prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. But he can not bite with physical teeth, for in this world he does not have that power. In this time he is chained. God has put limits on his power.

The devil’s mouth is filled not with teeth, but with false teachings. That’s how he attacks. He leads men by deceiving them to firmly believe wrong things about God. The tares that grow up among the wheat are men who believe wrongly, the product of false doctrine sown by the enemy.

You see wrong teaching about God isn’t harmless. There is a relationship between false doctrine and eternal death. Believing wrongly but fervently, men cling to their false beliefs and their superstitions and their own fallen reason. When confronted with the Truth, they reject it because they have come to believe something entirely different. That’s why there are denominations. That’s why there are false religions.

Now, until the harvest, there are tares mixed in with the wheat. Men who believe wrongly and teach false doctrine are mixed into the Church. Outwardly they look like wheat. Some tares wear clerical collars. Many are they that run but have not been sent. Many are they who prophesy to whom God has not spoken. For it pleases the devil that as many shocks of wheat as possible be ruined by the tares he sowed. Tares sap the nourishment from good soil. They compete with the wheat, their roots entangled with good roots. So the church today is beset with strife and conflict. It is the Church Militant. Our Lord Himself prophesied that it would be so.

It is not as if the Lord of the Church has left His Bride defenseless. He has given the Church His Word, the Sword, the Holy Scriptures, the only Truth. It is by the Word that the devils attacks are repelled. It is there that God reveals Himself, and there alone. But many will not study them or hear them. It is a terminal laziness that allows the devil’s bad seed to take root. For absent the Truth, falsehood grows like weeds – like tares. And many will not stand up in the face of false teaching to rebuke those tares that hold or preach false doctrine.

Perhaps you have known this laziness. Perhaps you have skipped the study of the Scriptures. Perhaps you have heard false doctrine from friends and family and co-workers, but because you have not know the Scriptures you have been unprepared to defend the Truth. Perhaps you have doubted, but have been lulled into a sense of complacency, accepting the devil’s lies that false belief and doctrine are not that harmful. So you have felt the tug of the roots of the tares as they have quietly crept in and invaded you. Repent, for on the last day men who believe wrongly will be separated from the Church and cast into the fire. But thanks be to God, He has no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked turned from his way and live. God is a God of love. God is a God of life. This is the time of grace. Now the tares are not torn up, in mercy, that men be converted and come to faith. Now the tares are not torn up lest some of the wheat be uprooted with them. That is a demonstration of God’s great love and longsuffering. It is a demonstration of God’s great love for you.

That you be spared the fires of judgment, God gave His only-begotten Son to die for you. Though you were born a tare, in His mercy God came to you and saved you. He took on Flesh and lived a perfect life, a sinless, holy righteous life. And then the Son of God died as a tare, punished by men and by God as the worst sinner of all time. The cross was His threshing floor, as He was torn up and cast into the hell of separation from the Father and death. It is in His death that your sins are removed. It is by His Blood that your transgressions are covered. Believing in Him, believing that in love He died for you, none of the sins which you have committed shall be remembered against you, you shall surely live.

Now is the time of God’s grace. Now is the time when men are called to repentance and salvation. Now is the time when God showers upon fallen men the benefits of Christ’s perfect death and resurrection. Now is the time when He makes Christ’s righteousness your righteousness. For in His great mercy, God delays the harvest that His Gospel be preached to the ends of the earth.

Now God pours out upon you the saving waters of Holy Baptism. Now you hear His Word, and that Word works faith unto salvation. You hear the Gospel Truth that your sins are forgiven for Christ’s sake, and that believing in Him you have life in His Name. Now the Scriptures are taught, that the Word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom. Now the Lord of the Church, the King of the Kingdom of Heaven, gives you to eat of His Body and drink of His Blood. In these ways He strengthens you to resist the tug of the tares, to prevail over the devil’s lies, to receive the forgiveness of your sins, and to grow up bearing fruit pleasing to Him.

Soon the Lord will let His angels come. Then they will be no false doctrine. Then the tares will be separated from the wheat. Then the True Church, the Good Seed that God sows, will be known. Then you, elect of God, holy and beloved, who by God’s grace endure faithful to the end, will receive the reward Christ won for you. And you shall not die, you shall surely live.

In the Name of the Faith, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.

All Rights Reserved

Pastor Mark Braden serves at Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church (English District) in Detroit. It is our local church. The Zion web site has a great deal of information, sermons, links, etc. which are worthy of your consideration. To visit go to: http://www.ziondetroit.org