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





Discernment Ministries International Has Moved!

29 02 2012

Truth Matters Newsletters – December 2011 – Vol. 16 Issue 2 Discernment Ministries International Has Moved! – Rev. Robert Liichow

 Discernment Ministries International

 Discernment Ministries International Has Moved!

1704 Gordon Avenue

Lansing, Michigan 48910

After 28 years of living in Detroit, the Lord has delivered us and we are so very thankful to Him for His great deliverance. While in Detroit we experienced the death of 3 of Tracy’s closest family members, the murder of two more relatives, and we endured the vandalizing of five cars, three vehicle thefts. . . We “paid” our dues.

Tracy and I were able to purchase a small home in Lansing, MI. where Tracy is working. Two rooms are dedicated to the work of DMI. I am in the process of building a “scriptorium” in the basement with all DMI’s research materials. All our books, cassettes, VHS and DVD’s and CD’s are being organized with a small section dedicated to the various multi-media formats. Upstairs in the DMI office is all the computer equipment, printers, and yeah more books. By summer I hope to be able to open up our small (but growing) library to our supporters who want to research some specific ministry o its teachings. Maybe in the next issue I will add some pictures of the “work in progress.”

It has cost DMI quite a bit to get moved in. A 20 amp line had to be added, various small office furnishings purchased, we need a complete new set of laser toner(s) for our Konica Minolta color laser. Please remember DMI this month in your prayers and giving. As always, we thank God for your faithfulness!!

 

Copyright© 2012 Robert S. Liichow

 

 





Happy New Year 2012

18 01 2012

Truth Matters Newsletters – January 2012  – Vol. 17  Issue 1  – Happy New Year!  – By Rev. Robert Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

 Happy New Year

Rev. Bob Liichow

The year is shaping up to be an exciting year on many levels.  On a personal level my wife and I are purchasing our first home after about 30 years of marriage. The home itself is a very modest Cape Cod that is less than 10 minutes from Tracy’s job in Lansing.  It is in “turnkey” condition and the monthly mortgage payment is a little less than we are currently paying in rent! Needless to say, Tracy and I are both very excited and busy.

 On the ministry level it is also an exciting time.  In our new home I will be able to fully set up our home office which we currently have lacked space for.  This means we can set up the color laser printer, commercial sized laminator, duplication area, etc…. This will enable DMI to get back into doing more in-home printing.  I hope to also be able to begin to create some curriculum’s on dvd’s that self-running and come with leader guide, workbook. Etc. which has been a long hitherto unfulfilled part of our overall vision.  I am asked monthly  to travel overseas and teach pastors and congregations.  Right now I cannot afford a passport, let alone a round trip ticket!  It is a better use of time and resources to send materials that can be used over and over and cost next to nothing (well less than traveling overseas) to produce.

 Once we get moved-in and sorted out I plan to begin my Ph.D program.  Tracy has almost completed hers, so I can begin mine now.  Lord willing, one day I may be “The Rev. Dr. Robert “Heresy-Hunter” Liichow.

 Please know that you are all in our prayers and I know how grateful DMI is for your very kind support on so many levels.  May our merciful Lord guard, guide and keep us all in His grace and truth!

Copyright© 2012 Robert S. Liichow





The Cult of Personality Is Crumbling

20 02 2010
Truth Matters Newsletters – February 2009 – Vol. 14 Issue 2 – The Cult of Personality Is Crumbing – by Rev. Bob Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

The Cult of Personality Is Crumbling

By Rev. Bob Liichow

The following article is written by Gillian Flaccus – Associated Press Writer on 2/1/2009. The highlighting italics and underlining were added by DMI for emphasis.

GARDEN GROVE, Calif. – Once one of the nation’s most popular televangelists, the Rev. Robert H. Schuller is watching his life’s work crumble. His son and recent successor, the Rev. Robert A. Schuller, has abruptly resigned as senior pastor of the Crystal Cathedral. The shimmering, glass-walled mega church is home to the “Hour of Power” broadcast, an evangelism staple that’s been on the air for more than three decades.

The church is in financial turmoil: It plans to sell more than $65 million worth of its Orange County Property to pay off debts. Revenue dropped by nearly $5 million last year, according to a recent letter from the elder Schuller to elite donors. In the letter, Schuller Sr. implored the Eagle’s Club members – who supply 30 percent of the church’s revenue – for donation and hinted that the show might go off the air without their support.

“The final months of 2008 were devastating for our ministry,” the 82-year old pastor wrote.

The Crystal Cathedral blames the recession for its woes. But it’s clear that the elder Schuller’s carefully orchestrated leadership transition, planned over a decade, has stumbled badly. It’s a problem common to personality driven ministries. Most have collapsed or been greatly diminished after their founders pulpit or died.

Members often tie their donations to the pastor, not the institution, said Nancy Ammerman, a sociologist of religion at Boston University. Schuller, with a style that blends pop psychology and theology, has a particularly devoted following, she said. “Viewers are probably much less likely to give when it’s not their preacher they’re giving to,” she said. “There’s something about these televised programs where people develop a certain loyalty.”

Today’s increasingly fragmented media landscape is also to blame, said Quentin Schultze, a Calvin College professor who specializes in Christian media. Church-based televangelism led by powerful personalities filled TV in the 1980s, but now only a handful of shows remain, he said. Among the struggling ministries are those of Oral Roberts and the late D. James Kennedy of “The Coral Ridge Hour” TV show. “I don’t see a scenario for maintaining a TV-based mega church anymore. The days of doing that in the models of Schuller and Jimmy Swaggart and Oral Roberts are over,” Schultze said. “It’s amazing to me that the ‘Hour of Power’ was able to keep going as long as it did.”

Through a spokesman Schuller Sr., his family members and other cathedral officials declined to comment. The younger Schuller, 54, did not respond to an e-mail requesting an interview. The elder Schuller, who called his weekly show “America’s Television Church,” founded his ministry in a drive-in-theater after moving to Southern California in 1955.

He studied marketing strategies to attract worshippers and preached a feel-good Christianity, describing himself as a “possibility thinker” and spinning his upbeat style into a 10,000-member church and a broadcast watched by millions worldwide. The church’s main sanctuary, the Crystal Cathedral, is a landmark designed by renowned architect Philip Johnson, with a spire visible from afar amid Orange County’s suburban sprawl. Thousands make the pilgrimage to see where the broadcast is filmed before a live congregation. The Schullers consider the church a family business and the younger Schuller’s 2006 appointment was sanctioned by the Crystal Cathedral’s parent denomination, the Reformed Church in America.

But the church announced on Nov. 29, that Schuller Jr. had resigned as senior pastor, just a month after he was removed from the church’s syndicated broadcasts. In a news release, Schuller Sr. said: “Robert and I have been struggling as we each have different ideas as to the direction and the vision for this ministry.” The church since instituted a rotating roaster of high-profile guest preachers, including Bill Hybels of Willow Creek Community Church, the Chicago-area mega church, and evangelist Luis Palau.

Schuller Sr.’s daughter and sons-in-law remain involved in the church, some in key roles. But Juan Carlos Ortiz, the interim senior pastor, hopes to appoint a senior pastor with no ties to the Schuller family within two years.

On the church Web site, concerned members and TV fans have posted hundreds of comments protesting the upheaval, with some indicating they have stopped giving or will leave altogether.

Several angry viewers have launched petitions to get the younger Schuller back. Melody Mook, a 58-year-old medical transcriptionist from El Paso, Texas, said she stopped her $25 monthly donation and is looking elsewhere for her spiritual needs. She said she dislikes the guest pastors. “I feel hurt and confused and I’m not sure that I want to sit and watch when I know there’s problems beneath the surface,” she said. “You feel like you’re in somebody else’s church every Sunday.” Others said they felt betrayed that the Schullers couldn’t put God before their family spat. “They have not been forthcoming at all,” said John Dewart, an insurance agent from New Jersey who’s watched for 30 years. “Why can’t a father and son work together for the glory of God.? That’s my big question.”

(End of Article)

For years, even when I was a raving charismatic one thing I always disagreed with was the practice of naming ministries, later I learned were really SINistries ) after the people who started them. When you put your name on something it points to you and if you are in ministry my advice is for you to always point to Jesus Christ the One who are supposed to be serving.

So the article by Flaccus should not come as any surprise. When various so-called works of God that are built upon fallen men or women will begin to crumble and fall when their founders begin to die off. I can promise you that any work that is bearing the name of a man will bear some of the marks of a cult of personality. I am referring to works men name after themselves, not names given by others posthumously.

For example, Oral Roberts reported that no less than God Himself told him never to touch the “three G’s.” The three g’s are (1) the gold, (2) the glory and (3) the girls. Well Oral seems to have been obedient with number 3, he is the husband of one wife with no hint of adultery. He failed with number one, he is phenomenally wealthy and number two he did name his university after himself, i.e. “Oral Roberts University,” and his SINistry is called “Oral Roberts Evangelistic Association.” So is it any wonder with Oral and his deathbed that his son Richard is having trouble keeping the ORU ship afloat not to mention the television aspect of the work? After all, these things bear Oral’s name and not Richard’s. At best he stands in the shadow of his allegedly anointed father, a shadow Richard never could nor will outgrow.

Benny Hinn Media Ministries, is one of the “official” names of Mr. Hinn’s moneymaking machine. When he dies it will not continue. Why not? Because it is built around Mr. Hinn there is no “ministry.” The same can be said of Kenneth Copeland Ministries, Joyce Meyer Ministries, Jerry Savelle Ministries, Jesse Duplantis Ministries, Ed Dufresne Ministries, Marilyn Hickey Ministries, ad nauseam.

None of the above were created to live any longer than their flawed founders, apart from their specious books and tapes. None of them has any plans to really continue after the deaths of their namesakes. These leaders are not interested in raising up disciples because their operations are one-man shows. NEVER FORGET THIS FACT! It is all about Benny Hinn, Kenny Copeland, Joyce and Jesse.

Perhaps the one exception to the rule might be Marilyn Hickey Ministries. Marilyn is getting pretty long in the tooth so to speak and is not in the best of health. So a couple of years back she brought her daughter Sarah along side her. However, Sarah lacks the abilities her first-grade teacher mom has in communicating to audiences. She does try to use the same aphorisms and gestures as Marilyn but she ain’t Marilyn and when Marilyn dies that work will decrease to infecting people on a local church level as opposed to the current global level of infection.

I suppose in retrospect it is somewhat of a good thing that these SINisters thought only of themselves when they got started out. Because they have a built in self-destruct button in the form of their death (and I do not care how much faith you have, there is still one death per person).

In closing, I find it interesting that I cannot find one biblically sound television ministry that is named after a living person, man or woman. Names have meaning names indicate things and point people in certain directions. Biblically, names are important and often have prophetic meaning. Thus, I think the very act of consciously naming of a work (that is supposed to be about Jesus) after oneself speaks volumes abut the direction that work will take. Jesus’ words are as true today as they will be forever when He says “Ye shall know them by their fruits.” 

Copyright © 2009 Robert S. Liichow





Towering Todd Topples

8 02 2010
Truth Matters Newsletters – September 2008   Vol. 13   Issue 9  -Towering Todd Topples –  By Rev. Robert S. Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

Towering Todd Topples

By Rev. Robert S. Liichow

In my previous article dealing with Todd Bentley’s “commissioning” as an apostle you read some of the swelling words spoken over him by various false prophets and false apostles. In a matter of a few short weeks God has chosen to pull the plug on Todd the fraud by exposing him internationally and shutting down the so called “revival” in Lakeland, FL. In doing so our Lord has also shown those who commissioned Bentley at best lack discernment and at worst to be frauds themselves (both statements are true). It seems Bentley, according to his SINistry website had to step down because:

We wish to acknowledge, however, that since our last statement from the Fresh Fire Board of Directors, we have discovered new information revealing that Todd Bentley has entered into an unhealthy relationship on an emotional level with a female member of his staff. In light of this new information and in consultation with his leaders and advisors, Todd Bentley has agreed to step down from his position on the Board of Directors an to refrain from all public ministry for a season to receive counsel in his personal life. (1)

Fresh Fire denies any sexual impropriety on Bentley’s part but what saith the Scriptures? “You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has committed adultery with her in his heart (Matt 5:27-28). Let me make it perfectly clear that we all commit sin, none of us is neither perfect nor will achieve perfection in this life. Please understand that I am not “casting stones” at Bentley’s fall.

What I do want to focus on is the sad history of virtually everyone who has claimed to be a prophet of God or an apostle of the Lamb within the neo-Montanist movement, i.e. Pentecostalism in general. Todd is just the most recent example of someone who thought more highly of himself than he ought a clear violation of Romans 12:3.

I will take you through just a cursory look at some of the “giants” of Pentecostalism, men and woman who claimed to be on a higher level with God than others, people who claimed to have a special fellowship with the Holy Spirit who allegedly empowered them with supernatural gifts. Each of these people were and still are highly revered (if Pentecostals had saints, these folks would surely be among them) as examples of godly leadership. You judge for yourself if they meet the biblical qualifications of a leader. These folks are listed in somewhat of a chronological order. I begin with the modern granddaddy of charismatic chicanery John Alexander Dowie.

A Short Walk Among the Giants of Pentecostalism

“Apostle” John Alexander Dowie, was originally from Scotland but ended up here in America just outside of Chicago where he founded his city of God on earth, Zion, IL. Dowie was one of American’s earliest healing evangelists and when he founded Zion he became deluded and actually thought he was the second coming of Elijah! I personally heard Lester Sumrall (2) speaking about Dowie and he said that Dowie’s problem (apart from thinking he was Elijah) was that he loved money. After declaring himself to be Elijah he was stricken with a stoke and died within months of the Azusa revival

The spiritual oversight of Zion then fell into the hands of a man name Finis Dake, of the Dake Bible fame (the highly esteemed Bible used by many Pentecostals to this day). All I will say about Mr. Dake is that he was arrested for taking an underage girl across state lines, checking into a hotel with her under false names (a single room). Dake, like Todd claimed no adultery took place. Nonetheless, he became a convicted felon and lost the leadership of Zion (some giant, eh?).

Aimee Semple McPherson is unique among the healing hucksters in that she eventually founded her own denomination, the Foursquare Gospel Church, which exists to this day. She was a good looking flamboyant woman preacher who flew in the face of the religious notions of her day. She was America’s first mega-church pastor, was on the forefront of radio ministry and she set the pace for the women preachers who followed her. However, she had many moral problems. She was an adulteress, who faked her own kidnapping to be with her lover, these facts are all well documented in books, videos and on the internet. “Sister” Aimee died in 1944 of a barbiturate overdose, some say it was accidental, but for one who proclaimed “Christ the Healer” why did she need any barbiturates to begin with?

A.A. Allen was well known for his outlandish behavior on stage during his healing revival meetings (truly Mr. Bentley there is nothing new under the sun Ecc. 1:9). Allen claims to have locked himself in a closet and fasted and prayed until God revealed to him His miracle working power. God is supposed to have given Allen a list of several works one had to do in order to be used by God to work miracles. Allen never revealed the last step to his followers! GASP!!! He falsely prophesied the destruction of America on July 4, 1954 and the following year he fled the state of Tennessee following being arrested for a DUI (driving under the influence). In 1970 Allen was discovered in the Jack Tar motel, dead of an alcohol and drug overdose. His death was not revealed for several days while his two henchmen decided how to divvy up Allen’s SINistries spoils, those men were no less than Don Stewart and R.W. Schamback, both current televangelists, both still playing off Allen’s “fame” as a healer.

Leroy Jenkins jumped onto the traveling healing gig after allegedly being healed at an A.A. Allen meeting in 1960. Jenkins is probably one of the most controversial figures in the charismatic movement. Leroy is a convicted felon for his arson conviction of burning down a State trooper’s home, he was sentenced to twelve years in prison in 1979. (3) Leroy has also had issues with drugs and alcohol, like his mentor A.A. Allen. “According to the Dictionary of Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements, Jenkins was arrested on more than one occasion on drug and alcohol related charges while in the ministry, and divorced his wife.” (4) More recently he married a handicapped elderly black woman in Las Vegas (who just happened to win a huge lottery prize):

The thrice married evangelist is said to ‘combine a little bit of Jesus, and a little bit of Elvis.’ His Las Vegas controversial marriage last Jan 12 (later annulled) 16 days after his 71 year old bride’s husband died, drew charges from her family that Jenkins wanted her fortune of about $4 million (8/4 Huntsville Times). (5)

I’ve seen Mr. Jenkins “perform” live on several occasions and I must admit he is every bit the showman that Benny Hinn is but on a much smaller platform. Married three times he and Mr. Tilton have that in common along with other noxious behaviors.

Paul Cain

“Prophet” Paul Cain  was at best a “bit player” in the 1950’s healing revival, tagging along with such giants as William Branham, A.A. Allen and the other fakes, frauds and healing hucksters of that time. He dropped out of sight towards the end of that phase of excited ignorance only to be brought back into the limelight by John Wimber, founder of the Vineyard movement  (Wimber later died due to a Chinese cancer spirit). Cain was highly regarded as the most accurate prophet alive (remember anything less than 100% accuracy biblically makes one a false prophet)! It was finally discovered by some of his fellow travelers that Cain was not all that moral of a man and they were forced to admit it on the Moringstar website:

In February 2004, we were made aware that Paul had become an alcoholic. In April 2004, we confronted Paul with evidence that he had recently been involved in homosexual activity. Paul admitted to these sinful practices and was placed under discipline, agreeing to a process of restoration, which the three of us would oversee. However, Paul has resisted this process and has continued in his sin…With our deepest regrets and sincerity, Rick Joyner, Jack Deere, Mike Bickle.” http://www.morningstarministries.org/oages/speacial-bulleu.ns/0ct_19.html (6)

DMI dealt with Mr. Cain in 2004 when this was brought to light. Cain in his 70’s did not “recently” become involved in homosexual activity. No one just suddenly after 70 years of living and almost 55 of those years in ministry “recently” becomes an active homosexual. One last thing about the prophet Cain he might be well remembered as the man who prophesied that President Bill Clinton would take America into a great revival….what does “is” mean Mr. Cain?

“Prophet” Bob Jones  was one of the famed “Kansas City Prophets” of the Vineyard fame. “He was said to have been especially anointed with supernatural visions from the Lord and a prophetic gift.” If someone can convince an individual that they are a prophet of God then great spiritual harm can come upon that person (remember the “prophet” Jim Jones?). This is exactly what happened in Mr. Jones case. “Two women came forward in 1991 and told Vineyard leaders that Jones had used his prophetic authority to touch and fondle them sexually. (8) Like Bentley he too denied that he committed adultery with these deceived women. “In recent months, I have manipulated certain people for selfish reasons on the basis of my prophetic gifting.” Jones said in a statement that he dictated and signed before the Metro Vineyard Fellowship senior leadership on November 4, 1991“I have been guilty of sexual misconduct and I deeply regret this. (I have not committed adultery).

Benny “the Healer” Hinn   is well known around the world for his miracle crusades which he conducts almost monthly. Hinn has been conducting these crusades for many years and by now ought to have a warehouse full of documented miracles and healings. Yet after over ten plus years of “miracle” crusades the only genuine miracle is the fact that people still attend his meetings at all! DMI has established in the past that we can prove in a court of law that more people have died attending his crusades than he can prove have been healed. Mr. Hinn’s major moral problem is that he is a liar and false prophet (not to mention a false healer). Hinn has lied about a person being raised from the dead in Nigeria. He is on record of lying in the name of the Lord in several recorded prophecies over the years. Yet in spite of being a proven liar he is still a regular guest on TBN, unfortunately the largest Christian television company in the world. Even though he cannot document any genuine miracles in his meetings he continues to pack arenas around the world and siphon off millions of dollars from legitimate Church work. Probably the best documented resource regarding Mr. Hinn is the book entitled “The Confusing World of Benny Hinn” Published by Personal Freedom Outreach (www.pfo.org) DMI also offers a DVD on Mr. Hinn which exposes him for the fraud he is.

Lest We Forget the Television Superstars

Bentley can be added among the televangelists due to his man-made revival was televised on God T.V. and on the internet via You Tube from start to stop. It appears he has much in common with other infamous charismatic television leaders.

Peter Popoff

Peter Popoff is back like a bad penny. Back in the late 1980’s his alleged gifts of the “word of knowledge” and “word of wisdom” (1 Cor. 12:8) were exposed as being  fraudulent by former stage magician:

His earlier claims were debunked in 1987 when noted skeptic James Randi and his assistant, Steve Shaw, researched Popoff by attending shows across the country for months. They discovered that radio transmission were being sent by Peter’s wife, Elizabeth Popoff, where she was reading information which she and her aides (Volmer Thrane, the brother of his manger Nancy Thrane, and Reeford Sherrill) had gathered from earlier conversations with members of the audience. Popoff would simply listen to these promptings with his in-ear receiver and repeat what he heard to the crowd. After tapes of these transmissions were played on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, Popoff’s popularity and viewing audiences declined sharply, and his ministry declared bankruptcy later that year. (10)

The expose on Popoff did not keep him off the pimping platform for very long. He can still be seen on early morning cable stations and still travels around the world fleecing the needy with false promises of healing and prosperity….laughing all the way to the bank. One way he gets his money is by sending out monthly “point-of-contact” items that when sent back to his SINistry with a donation will produce a host of blessings in the faithful devotee’s life. There are serious doubts that Mr. Popoff is saved (the Lord only knows). This much is certain, DMI prays he repents of his wickedness and is turned to Christ.

Robert Tilton

Robert Tilton was one of the first charismatic mega-church pastors, I’ve meet him in person, attended his Bible school in the 1980’s and I have written the only book exposing him for what he is — a false teacher and false prophet. One thing folks today do not realize is that for several years Mr. Tilton was the darling of the charismatic movement and helped launch several prominent SINistries today including Marilyn Hickey. He was exposed as a fraud by the Trinity Foundation in 1991 on the PrimeTime Live television program:

In 1991, ABC-TV’s “PrimeTime Live” program reported that Tilton’s Word of Faith World Outreach Center Church, then based in Dallas, was making $80 million a year from followers through its direct mail campaign. At the time, Tilton’s television show, “Success-N-Life” was broadcast by 200 stations nationwide and his church claimed 10,000 members. “PrimeTime Live” suggested Tilton’s ministry engaged in mail fraud and showed contributors’ letters, many of them requests for help, in a trash Dumpster outside Commercial Bank of Tulsa A Tulsa recycler said he also found thousands of prayer requests for Tilton’s ministry among the waste sent to him by a company that handled Tilton’s mail. The program sparked an investigation by the Texas attorney general and numerous lawsuits. Stations canceled Tilton’s television program until it eventually went off the air. (12)

Shortly after several court cases against Mr. Tilton he jettisoned his first wife, Marte, of over twenty years and married Leigh Valentine, whom Tilton divorced in less than two years. Currently he is on third wife, Maria Rodriguez who shows up on his television shows. Tilton lost his appeal to other charismatic leaders once his empire began to fall, but he has not lost his television appeal. Even though he is a proven fraud, false teach and false prophet he still is bilking millions of dollars from his television audience.

More than 10 years after his ministry collapsed in scandal, Robert Tilton is reaching millions of television viewers with his pitches for money, living comfortably in south Florida and maintaining a connection with Tulsa. Far from shrinking into obscurity, Tilton is reaping millions from his mailing list and daily shows on Black Entertainment Television. He has formed two companies, bought a 50-foot yacht and purchased a $1.3 million piece of oceanfront property in Miami Beach through his company, records show. (13)

Tilton feeds off the poorest of the poor making swelling promises to them and giving them nothing but a false hope in a false Gospel message. One closing thought, even though all other charismatic leaders jettisoned their allegiance to Tilton NONE of them has ever publicly rebuked him or spoken out against his excesses.

Jim Bakker was the darling of Christian television, he and his wife, Tammy Faye, were far bigger than Paul and Jan Crouch at the time. Long story short (due to space) we all probably remember his adulterous affair with Jessica Hahn, his conviction and prison sentence for defrauding his donors and his divorce from Tammy Faye. Unlike anyone else in this article Mr. Bakker seems to be the only one who genuinely repented of his sins, even though he has not changed too much of his theological stance and is attempting a television comeback via “prophet” Rick Joyner and others.

Jimmy Swaggart

Jimmy Swaggart  was another Pentecostal superstar whose moral failings brought him down, but not out of the limelight. Swaggart called Bakker a “cancer in the Body of Christ” due to his sexual dalliance with Ms. Hahn. Yet while Swaggart was making his charges he was involved with a prostitute and wanted her to allow him to take pictures of her and her young daughter in sexually compromising positions! Not only that he has admitted to being addicted to pornography — “When confronted by the Assemblies of God leadership, Jimmy had no choice but to confess. He told them that he suffered a lifelong addiction to pornography.”  (14)

In 1989, there were further allegations from a woman named Catherine Campen regarding an extramarital affair with Swaggart. But that wasn’t the end; a routine stop for speeding in 1991 led to the discovery that Mr. Swaggart was with another prostitute named Rosemary Garcia. But what most probably remember about Swaggart was his tearful “confession” (although he never specified his “sin” ) before millions of television viewers when he asked forgiveness of God and his wife. Swaggart was eventually defrocked by the Assemblies of god church after he refused to accept a two-year ban from televangelism, stating that “If I do not return to the pulpit this weekend, millions of people will go to hell. (15)

So much for humility! Last time I saw Jimmy he did not have any holes in his hands, i.e. he is not the Savior. At one time Swaggart was so big he had his own zip code in LA. Today after being exposed on several occasions with women of the night Swaggart’s empire is just a shadow of its former monolithic size.

How Is This Explained?

Robert Liardon

These moral and spiritual failings are so egregious that they cannot be hidden in a corner so some type of explanation has to be given to account for them. Roberts LIARdon created a series of videos entitled “God’s Generals,” which on the whole was a decent historical look at most of the above and several other questions leaders. When it came to the moral failings LIARdon addressed them in a unique manner. His position is that these men and women simply could not stand the weight of glory and the power of the anointing God had placed on them. When on the platform they were “giants” but when they stepped off of it, they were just regular folks because God’s power lifted off of them until the next time they ministered.

Many charismatic/sign-gift believers are experience junkies (I know I was) going from one mystical encounter to the next, always looking for a stronger “high.” For LIARdon these leaders simply replaced the high they got from the anointing to one of drugs, alcohol, sex, money or fame. According to LIARdon these folks simply did not know how to operate under the power of God.

That is a convenient explanation when we consider the fact that Mr. LIARdon was exposed as a homosexual by DMI several years ago, he and his Youth Minister (who fled the country to Central America). LIARdon’s grandmother defended Robert by basically rebuking his congregation fro not “covering him in prayer.” Robert was attacked by Satan to destroy his testimony and the valuable work he was doing for the Kingdom of God. Several years later LIARdon is back, teaching people how to withstand the attacks of Satan. What Robert fails to admit in his series is the terrible nature of these sins nor does he explain how or why these people fell into them. This much is certain —sound doctrine when acted upon produces a solid and godly Christian life. All of these “giants” past and present were and are not anchored doctrinally.

In Closing

The listing I have provided is by no means extensive (space does not permit looking at William Branham, Oral Roberts, Larry Lea, Kathryn Kuhlman, etc.) but it does hold up to the light some of the “best and the brightest” within the Pentecostal (sign-gift) camp. This list is not a cherry-picked straw man attempt on my part to railroad the enthusiasts among us.

Brothers and sisters for the most part every person cited is revered by millions of people as a giant person of faith and power. Books and videos lauding John Alexander Dowie, William Branham, A.A. Allen, Aimee McPherson and others abound. Yet what do we really have here in the lives of these leaders? We find homosexuality (I could mention and Ted Haggard here), often multiple divorces, drug abuse, alcohol abuse, adultery on the moral end of the Lord and a love of money on the spiritual side of the equation.

Now we learn that the latest restored apostle is in fact in need of restoration himself! His marriage, unfortunately, has been on the rocks for three years…but none of the restored apostles or prophets seemed to have had any revelation concerning Todd’s problems. If ones personal life is in shambles how can one be a leader in the house of God.

A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil. Likewise must the deacons be grave, not doubletongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre; Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience. And let these also first be proved; then let them use the office of a deacon, being found blameless. Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things. Let the deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and their own houses well. 1 Timothy 3:1-12

Todd and the other “giants” of Pentecostalism do not even meet the requirements to serve as a deacon in a local church let alone serve as apostles or prophets! What is deeply troubling is that one cannot be a leader without followers. It does not matter what claims anyone makes if no one is willing to believe the claims.

The problem is that so many people are biblically ignorant that they cannot recognize a false teacher or prophet when they stand before them. Anyone with a sound doctrinal foundation can easily point out the purveyors of heresy and false practices. This is why this newsletter is entitled: “Truth Matters” because it is the truth of God that will set us free (see John 8:31-32) just as ignorance or misapplication of God’s Word will put us in bondage. Pray for these self-appointed leaders and more importantly pray for the millions of people who slavishly follow them. It is our prayer that one day they will take their focus off of sinful man and look upon Jesus the true Author and Finisher of their faith (Heb 12:2).  ♦

Copyright ©  2008 Robert S. Liichow

End Notes

1. Obtained from http://www.freshfire.ca/ on Sept 03, 2008 Underlining added for emphasis.

2. Lester Sumrall was a Pentecostal evangelist who by in-large was pretty sound biblically at least in comparison to the others. I meet Smrall personally and had him lay hands on me to “impart” some of his anointing many years ago before I knew better.

3. See further J. Gordon Melton, The Encyclopedia of American Religions. Tarrytown, NY; Triumph Books, 1991, Vol. 1, pp, 258-259

4. Dictionary of Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements, op. cit., pg 480.

5. Jerry Huffman, Editor, Calvary Contender, “Leroy Jenkins, ‘Faith Healer,” Vol. XVIII, No. 17, Sept 1 2001

6. Obtained from http://www.deceptioninthechurch.com/orrell19.html on Sept 03, 2008

7. Excerpted from “Heaven Can’t Wait” by William M. Alnor, 1996.

8. Ibid

9. Ibid. Underlining added for emphasis.

10. Randi, James (1989) The Faith Healers. Prometheus Books. ISBN 0-87975-535-0 pages 141.

11. DMI has the only book in print on the doctrine of point-of-contact entitiled “Does the bible Support A Doctrine Called Point -of-Contact.” It is filled with many full color plates and is available for $25.00 per copy.

12. Obtained from http://www.trintiyfI.org/press/tulsaworld02.html

13. Ibid.

14. Obtained from http://www.rotten.com/library/bio/religion/televangelists/jimmy-swaggart/.

15 Obtained from http://rainbowsendpress.com/exposed/swaggart.html on 04-08.





False Prophets Real Profit$

4 02 2010
Truth Matters Newsletters – August 2008 Vol. 13 Issue 9 – False Prophets Real Profit$ – By Rev. Robert S. Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

False Prophets Real Profit$

By Rev. Robert S. Liichow

If it is true that history repeats itself, then the false prophets and false teachers of old must have also reaped great financial rewards. This much is certain with the advent of Pentecostalism in America all those who claimed to be prophets of our Lord had two indisputable things in common: (1) false prophets who delivered lying words that were generated from their own hearts or they were demonically inspired and (2) they all became very wealthy at the expense of those who followed them.

 

A Little Walk through American Prophetic History

Initially after the Azusa “revival of 1906 for the next several years no one came forward and declared they were a restored prophet or apostle. The fledgling Pentecostal movement did have pastors, Bible teachers and evangelists, both male and female.

Father Divine

Possibly the first individual who received the Spirit at Azusa and went off the spiritual rails in a devastating manner was a man named George Baker. The Azusa enthusiasm and the demonic spirit imparted to him led to his damnation.

This was a major turning point in his life. While he spoke in tongues, he felt a stirring, and suddenly, as Baker believed that he had reached a state of ultimate spiritual purification, a condition Fillmore described as the “consciousness of himself as a spiritual being, knowing himself to be the Christ of God, he is IAM, and ready to recreate the world….He had blended New Thought with Methodism, a little Catholicism, Pentecostalism, and African-American storefront theology, and had devised a syncretic belief system.   (1)

After his Azusa experience George Baker became internationally known as “Father Divine” and he and his man followers considered him to be literally god in the flesh. (2)

Sweet Daddy Grace

Once Father Divine (George Baker) got established and garnered quite a following another man jumped into this obvious lucrative pool of gullible folks. This liar went by the name of Sweet Daddy Grace and he formed The United House of Prayer For All People.

His first big success came five years later when he opened a church in Charlotte. The United House of Prayer for All People prided itself on an ecstatic worship style that included speaking in tongues. Grace claimed great powers and developed a line of products including “Daddy Grace” coffee, tea, soaps, and hand creams reputed to have healing properties. By the time of his death in 1960, the church he founded had become a denomination and Grace himself a rich man.   (2)

 

Please keep in mind that many mainline Pentecostals (such as they were back in the early 1900’s ) did not publicly endorse any of these men, yet their members did flock to hear them speak, prophecy, and give them “numbers” to play on the street. The next early false prophet came out of the ranks of the Pentecostal cult my wife and her family was raised in. It was called “Triumph the Church and Kingdom of God in Christ” (to separate it from its main contender “The Church of God in Christ.” Triumph people taught complete sanctification in this life. Proof of having attained this exalted level of holiness was simple, such a person would never die physically (naturally, they became know in a pejorative manner as the never die folk).

Prophet Jones Already recognized as a prophet, at the age of six he joined and began preaching sermons to a Birmingham sect known as Triumph the church and Kingdom of God in Christ, similar in character to the one he later founded in Detroit. At 11 he quit school to devote full time to preaching. In 1938 The Triumph sect sent the 21 year-old Jones to Detroit as a missionary where enthusiastic converts soon pressed expensive gifts upon him. The gifts, his superiors ruled, were rightfully the property of the church. Rather than give them up, Jones broke away to launch his own sect. Prophet Jones founded the Church of Universal Triumph, the Dominion of God Inc. in 1938 in Detroit. Originally headquartered in the old Oriole Theater at 8450 Linwood, the church later moved above the Fine Arts Theater at 2940 Woodward. He blessed his inner circle with royal and noble titles, such as “Sir,” “Prince” and “Princess,” “Lord” and “Lady” and other majestic appellations. His mother who died in 1951 was known as Grace Rev. Lady Catherine Jones. Jones reached his peak as a religious leader in the 1940’s and late ‘50s, and lived like a millionaire. He resided in an 18th century-style French castle at 75 Arden Park. The three-story, 54-room graystone chateau had been built in 1917 by Edmund A. Vier, a General Motors Corp. executive, at a cost of $100,000.  (4)

Like several of the more well know false prophet Jones was a homosexual. Another more recent example would be Paul Cain and some others recently “outted.” As an aside I believe the reason why homosexuality goes hand-in-hand with false prophets is simply because God gives them over to dark desires as a punishment for lying in His holy name (read Romans 1-2).

One of the more “flamboyant” false prophets who was an early arrival to the television ministry is Rev. Ike, Whose real name is Frederick Eikerenkoetter. I remember Ike on television as a young boy and is statement to this day is “you can’t lose with the stuff I use…mind science.” He also used to cajole his audiences by telling them he did not want to hear any change in the offering plates when they were passed because it made him nervous.

Rev. Ike formally the Right Reverend Dr. Fredrick J. Eikerenkoetter II stated that he owns a fleet of Rolls-Royces (a different color for every day of the week, appointed in mink), diamond rings, expensive suits, and multiple mansions – far from hiding his wealth, Reverend Ike makes it a point of his preaching. His theology centers around the “Science of Living” and “Thinkenomics,” his own version of economics based on the premise that poverty, a lack of luck, poor health, etc, are the results of incorrect attitudes, a lack of confidence, a lack of faith and a failure to get in touch with the “presence of God within each of us.” (5)

Frankly, I had thought that “Rev.” Ike had long since assumed room temperature but lo-and-behold, one morning a few years back I saw him on BET (6) standing beside a new breed of false prophet, Bishop E. Bernard Jordan whose SINistry is located in New York. Jordan learned his trade as a prophet by attending Dr. Bill Hamon’s “School of the Prophets.” Where anyone who feels led (I sent many of you a sample of felt lead) to become a spokesperson for the Ancient of Days can go and learn the techniques on how to hear from God and accurately deliver His message {for a price} to His paying people. Here is just a short squib on Mr. Jordan:

Bishop E. Bernard Jordan at the age of 15, where he was summoned to prophesy. By the age of 24, he was recognized nationally as a prophet. Rising from the obscurity of the ghetto to his present and current fame he is known to millions as God’s messenger, the Prophet. Bishop Elijah Bernard Jordan is the founder and Senior Pastor of Zoe Ministries since 1983 Bishop Jordan teaches biblical principles and ethics essential to successful living….Bishop Jordan is a modern-day prophet whose ministry is absolutely astounding! Like Nostradamus, Bishop Pike, and Edgar Cayce, the accuracy of the gift that operates in Bishop Jordan will astound you! He is known to predict exact names, dates, and times of events both individually and globally! His visual perception is so exact that he is able to give accurate descriptions of locations that are pertinent to the recipient of the prophecy!   (7)

I have watched and recorded Mr. Jordan many times and he is in fact one very creepy looking dude. Anyone he “speaks” over gives him money either directly or into a collection plate next to him as he prognosticates. Through his SINistry you can buy different kinds of soap which when used can give one dreams, revelations, peace, etc…Probably three of his best known followers are the former thug and rapper “Run DMC” – now known as “Rev.” Run (has his reality television show) and television judge Glenda Hatchett, and of course, Rev. Ike who speaks at Jordan’s meetings. Naturally Jordan is extremely wealthy. My wife and I ministered to a brother from Africa who upon coming to America for an advanced degree foolishly gave Jordan $5,000 (he knows the truth now, thanks be to God). At one point he was offering a fresh word from the Lord each day for a mere $365, sent to you personally. It only takes a couple of thousand dupes to send in their checks and pretty soon, like Ike, Jordan is riding in his own Bentley or Rolls Royce. Another problem with these self-proclaimed profit$ is that those who follow them never mature in their own spiritual walk with Christ. They are totally dependent upon the word of the Lord through their chosen mouthpiece. Not only that when a person has given themselves totally over to the spiritual authority of another sinful person they are prey to become victims of spiritual abuse. There are many recorded cases of “prophets” taking sexual advantage of those submitted to them, both male and female.

 

Kenneth & Gloria Copeland

In light of all of these ostentatious profit$ there are few who are seated at the zenith of prophetic pimpery (my own new word) and those residing at the summit are Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth & Gloria Copeland. Compared to their wealth all these others are just “piker’s” mere “wannabes” Kenneth Copeland Ministries {KCM} are so wealthy that no one outside their tight nepotistic inner circle knows for sure how wealthy they are. To guess close to or just over a billion dollars in probably not far off the mark. KCM is not telling, and they basically told Senator Grassy what he could do with his questions and have remained mum.

Keep in mind that I was a follower to Kenny’s ministry for years, gave to it, still have 100’s of hours of his teachings on cassette and their books in our archives. My wife and I distinctly remember Jerry Savelle speaking at a “Word” conference and how he marveled over all the antique cars that Kenneth had, including an old steam car! From what Savelle shard with us it seemed to be quite an extensive collection.

A few months ago Truth Matters wrote an article dealing with all the airplanes/jets that the various televangelist owned. Who had the most planes? Why Mr. Copeland and why not, some years ago he/KCM purchased Eagle Mountain Army/Air force base in the 1980’s. (8) This defunct airbase is over 1,500 acres and includes a mansion on a lake which only the Copeland’s are allowed to use. KCM’s main headquarters are on the property also.

A recent Associated Press article took the Copeland’s to task concerning their vast financial holdings, after al, KCM is a non-profit corporation yet strangely enough those associated directly with the running of the non-profit have all profited very handsomely.

Here are some excerpts of what Eric Gorski wrote in his July 27, 2008 piece for the AP.

NEWARK, Texas (AP) —Here in the gentle hills of north Texas, televangelist Kenneth Copeland has built a religious empire teaching that God wants his followers to prosper…Over the years, a circle of Copeland’s relatives and friends have done just that, The Associated Press has found. They include the brother-in-law with a lucrative deal to broker Copeland’s television time, the son who acquired church-owned land for his ranching business and saw it more than quadruple in value, and board members who together have been paid hundreds of thousands of dollars for speaking at church events…Kenneth Copland Ministries is organized under the tax code as a church, so it gets a layer of privacy not afforded large secular and religious nonprofit groups that must disclose budgets and salaries. Pastors’ pay must be “reasonable” under the federal tax code, a term that gives churches wide latitude. Copeland’s current salary is not made public by his ministry. However, the church disclosed in a property-tax exemption application that his wages were $364,577 in 1995; Copeland’s wife, Gloria earned $292,593. It’s not clear whether those figures include other earnings, such as special offerings for guest preaching or book royalties. Another 13 Copeland relatives were on the church’s payroll that year. (9)

Nothing like keeping the wealth in the family I suppose. But it does make one take pause to think about the coincidence that the church land sold to John Copeland (his son) turned out to have deposits of oil and natural gas on it! Not to mention that Board of Directors of non-profits are not to be paid any type of salary apart from being reimbursed for their expenses in traveling to board meetings or board related activities. Copeland’s board members rake in hundreds of thousands per year for merely speaking on his anointed behalf! Another thing, you can bet your sweet bippy that Gloria and Kenny earn far more than a paltry $657,170 per year.  Creflo Dollar just gave Kenny a personal check for one million dollars to celebrate his forty years in SINistry, not to mention all the other “love gifts” he receives and the money from his many books, cassettes, videos and dvd’s.

What I find particularly disturbing is that he and so many other televangelists transformed their organizations into “churches” many of them during the turbulent times of the 1980’s when scandal after scandal rocked their empires. Churches do not have to report any of their income to the government. Their annual “take”, peoples salaries, the budgets are never revealed. Copeland is not the only one incorporated as a church. Joyce Meyer’s organization is incorporated as a “church,” as is Benny Hinn’s and Marilyn Hickey and naturally Robert Tilton and the St. Matthew’s scam artists and many other well known evangelists.

None of these people serve as pastors, they do not hold regular church services where congregation members are baptized married and buried. They do not have deacons and /or elders. Most do not even have official separate sanctuaries. Although I will admit Copeland does have a church with a man he hired as a pastor, yet he himself is not a pastor. The dirty little secret is this: these folks became “churches” as a means to hide their excessive wealth, not because God has called them to serve their communities through legitimate church activities.

After all, if people knew exactly how much money these organizations had in their control it would be next to impossible for them to shear the sheep any longer. At the height of his empire Robert Tilton boasted of bringing in over 100 million dollars per year. Mr. Hinn is estimated to bring in around 80 million per year and Mr. Copeland seems to being doing better than either of these frauds.

Why Do People Support These People?

It is no secret that these folks are phenomenally wealthy. This is one of their primary messages and they point to themselves as proof that what they are teaching works. Part of the prosperity doctrine is that one must not speak negatively of their teachers because these negative words will kill the financial “seed” they have planted.

Another aspect of this false teaching is that – you must continue faithfully to give your very best to the false prophet/teacher if you expect to reap an abundant harvest. They teach that one must “cast your bread upon the water” (Ecc. 11:1) and it will return after many days…how many days, years, epochs is not revealed to the devotee. Only one thing is certain KEEP ON GIVING!

The message of financial prosperity, not just enough to meet your needs, but a message of living the lifestyle of the rich and famous is so widely poplar because it panders to the innate greed without our fallen hearts. These heretics simply tie a “biblical bow” around a teaching that God has never endorsed.

Another reason people give is because they believe their favorite heretic has paid their dues (every one of them tells sad stories of their initial poverty until they received the revelation of seed-faith) and now due to their faithfully acting on certain spiritual laws regarding giving and receiving God has blessed them and if the devotee will stay in “faith” and not doubt and keep giving their day will come too! What the poor dupe fails to realize is that very little of what comes into these blasphemous behemoths ever goes out into genuine charitable works. All any charismatic Word of Faith/Positive Confession believer has to do is simply take a step away from the hoopla and the occasional testimony and see that there are no more millionaires within their ranks than anywhere else. One would imagine that after thirty (30) years of proclaiming prosperity and people faithfully acting on these spiritual laws that there should be a plethora of millionaires….yet there are not. The acid test of any false teaching is that it does not produce the results promised.

Copeland, Hinn, Meyer, Tilton, Dollar, Savelle, Price, Osteen, Roberts, Hickey, Hagin, Duplantis and the Crouch’s annual take is estimated at around a billion dollars per year. Where are all the hospitals, orphanages, feeding programs, and clothing programs (see Matt. 25:36). How about helping rebuild farms in Nigeria, Africa’s breadbasket enabling farmers to grow crops and feed themselves. How abut building Christian schools and supplying teachers? The Saudi Muslims are building their Madras’s all over the world, including the United States with their money—-what are these “Christians” doing to actually expand the kingdom of God? NEXT TO NOTHING! Oh yes they preach the law when it comes to tithing, yet, they do not give away 10% off the gross from their offerings. Not to mention they excel at urging their devotees to not only to give tithes but also additional offerings. (Mal. 3:10).

Paul & Jan Crouch TBN

Paul & Jan Crouch love to show pictures of the “hospital” in Haiti and of Jan giving out little blond haired dolls (which look unfortunately like her) to the poor children. Let’s get real people it costs next to nothing to build a hospital and even less a Christian school in Egypt, Haiti, anywhere in Africa or the Philippines. TBN is documented to be worth in excess of billion dollars! To be sure all of these frauds will show some pictures of what great works they are doing with your money (remember Robert Tilton standing in front an orphanage, which was later proven to be a fake), but do not be deceived by their claims, like many politicians you know they are lying when they open their mouths.

The practice of GIVING sacrificially is highly touted by them all, the practice of sacrificial LIVING is a totally alien concept to them. According to their perverted doctrine it is God’s will for them to live in the best homes behind gated communities. As King’s kids they are to drive and own a fleet of the most luxurious cars and to wear nothing “off the rack” unless it comes off the rack on Rodeo Drive or Savile Row. Never forget that Mr. Hinn was documented taking the Concorde to Paris to purchase some ties several years ago. (11)

If these people were truly people of God they would be constantly building Christian schools, educating pastors (naturally since none of these deceivers has any biblical education themselves that might be a stretch), building medical clinics, distributing Bibles by the boatload.

Joyce Meyer

Instead, they buy huge plots of land for themselves and their families upon which they build mansions (remember the expose by the Saint Louis Post Dispatch on the Joyce Meyer compound and the multiple mansions on her land) (12)   They purchase newer and faster private jets (which no one else can use, even to take a kidney across the country I suppose), fleets of Rolls Royce, Mercedes Benz, Bentley and Escalades for themselves, family members and board members. The cost of just one of any of these automobiles could purchase at least a thousand bicycles for Pastors in India, not to mention maybe going as far, GASP, as buying them motor scooters so these true men of God can promote the Gospel more effectively!

It sickens my spirit to see how these false prophets profit mainly off those on fixed income and those who are biblically ignorant. What troubles me is the question of when will God’s people wake up and join the likes of DMI and other apologetic ministries and begin to point their fingers at these people are boldly declare “the emperor has no clothes on!”

We need to organize and get militant when they come to our towns. We need to make signs and picket outside their venues in a peaceful and godly manner. We need to be equipped with solid information to hand out to the people being drawn in by the sirens song of success and excess. We must let these folks know that there are congregations they can attend who will not rape them spiritually and steal from them financially. Lastly, we must let thee false prophets and false teachers know that God has watchmen and we are on the wall crying out a warning to His people. I take comfort in the words of Asaph and underlined what was and is pertinent to me:

Psalm 73

A psalm of Asaph.

Surely God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart. But as for me, my feet had almost slipped; I had nearly lost my foothold. For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. They have no struggles; their bodies are healthy and strong. They are free from the burdens common to man; they are not plagued by human ills. Therefore pride is their necklace; they clothe themselves with violence. From their callous hearts comes iniquity; the evil conceits of their minds know no limits. They scoff, and speak with malice; in their arrogance they threaten oppression. Their mouths lay claim to heaven and their tongues take possession of the earth. Therefore their people turn to them and drink up waters in abundance. They say, “How can god know? Does the Most High have knowledge? This is what the wicked are like–always carefree, they increase in wealth. Surely in vain have I kept my heart pure; in vain have I washed my hands in innocence. All day long I have been plagued; I have been punished every morning. If I had said, “I will speak thus,” I would have betrayed your children. When I tried to understand all this, it was oppressive to me till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny. Surely you place them on slippery ground; you cast them down to ruin. How suddenly are they destroyed, completely swept away by terrors! As a dream when one awakes, so when you arise, O Lord, you will despise them as fantasies. When my heart was grieved and my spirit embittered, I was senseless and ignorant; I was a brute beast before you. Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into gloryWhom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire beside you. My flesh and my heart may fall, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Those who are far from you will perish; you destroy all who are unfaithful to you. But as for me, it is good to be near God I have made the Sovereign LORD my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds.

When you’ve made a career out of studying every religious crook, spiritual abuser, false prophet, false teacher, false apostle and blasphemer and they seem to continue to “prosper” and grow in popularity it can be depressing IF you take your eyes off of Jesus and forget that our reward is truly in heaven where moth and rust do not corrupt and thieves do not break in and steal (Matt. 6:19) Another text has always kept me centered in this work and I hope it is a comfort to you as well:

Proverbs 36:7-9

“Two things I ask of you, O LORD; do not refuse me before I die; Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread. Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you and say, ‘Who is the LORD?’ Or I may become poor and steal, and so dishonor the name of my God.

My God has been faithful to manifest this (and other texts) in my life. I used to walk the floors and cry out to God “God I want to know the truth, I want to know the truth God” for hours some times. It took Him some years to break through my stubborn heart but He has finally brought me to the truth and He has delivered my wife and I from falsehood and keep lies far from us. We’ve always had our daily bread, been extremely close to poverty but not quite there. Well as to the riches, He has surely kept those from us for our own benefit. He has been teaching us the lesson the Apostle Paul learned Phil 4:11-13.    Selah 

Copyright ©  2008 Robert S. Liichow

End Notes:

1. Watts, Jill God Harlem U.S.A. The Father Divine Story, University of California Press 1992, pp. 25-30.

2. The story about Father Divine and what his mission did is exceedingly amazing and you can either purchase the above book mentioned at http://www.abebooks.com or research his life on the internet, a fascinating false prophet.

3. Obtained from http://capeverde-islands.com/grace.html  on 08-07-08

4. Obtained from http://info.detnews.com/redeign/history/story/historytemplate.cfm?id=182&CFID=21077377&CFTOKEN=96371783   on 08-07-2008

5. Obtained from: http://wikipedia.org/wiki/Reverendike on 08-07-2008

BET is the Black entertainment Television which sells its time to any “Gospel” pimp who can afford it, much to their (BET’s) shame.

6. Obtained from: http://www.bishopjordan.com/whoweare/aboutjordan.htm on 08-07-2008. Underlining added; please note that the three individuals cited as comparisons to Jordan were all damnable heretics by any stretch of the imagination and NOT Christians!

7. http://endtimepropheticwords.wordpress.com/category/kenneth-copeland-eagle-mountain-kcm/

8. Obtained from: http://ap.google.com/article/AlegM5jhLNcxgGPktbbovb1kMFVwo7WK1wD92638KGO on 08-07-2008 underlining added, please note that the bold print was added for emphasis.

9. Obtained from: http://www.eurweb.com/story/eur38455.cfm on 08-12-08

10. Still the best book exposing Mr. Hinn for the liar he is The confusing world of Benny Hinn, Personal Freedom Outreach. www.pfo.org

11.Obtained from: http://www.stltoday.com/stitoday/news/special/joycemeyer.nsf/0/610CC8888098171886256256DDC0080820A? Open Document on 08-12-08





The Lunacy In Lakeland – déjà Vu All Over Again

2 02 2010
Truth Matters Newsletters – June 2008 – Vol. 13   Issue 6 – The Lunacy In Lakeland – déjà vu All Over Again

Discernment Ministries International

The Lunacy In Lakeland

déjà Vu All Over Again

By Robert S. Liichow

Over the last month or so DMI has been inundated with reports (many of them “glowing”) with the latest revival to be sent, theoretically, by the Holy Spirit. Now many of the former sign-seekers who partook of the revival at Toronto and Pensacola are now flocking to Lakeland, FL to experience the latest outpouring of God’s power and presence.

What is amazing to me is that everything I have read about this latest manifestation of excited ignorance is that it is nothing new! The same “manifestations” of uncontrollable laughter, being slain in the spirit, reports of teeth being filled with gold, angel feathers being found along with gem stones after the praise services, etc. In short it is the same-old / same-old. The usual fanatical claims of miracles are being reported (and as usual unsubstantiated). Let me just cite one such “miracle” report before delving into the background of these meetings:

This is the 13 resurrection as a result of this outpouring. I’m saying to the media “the dead are being raised.” I received this testimony: “My dear brother died. We requested an all night wake. At the funeral we played the revival. We declared my brother alive. At 2:19 a.m. my brother began to stir in his coffin. My brother sat up in the coffin praising God. My brother went to heaven and he thought he would not return. He said Todd was Bring his spirit back from heaven. All of us the funeral home were praising God. (Obtained from http://www.revivallakeland.org/ May 25, 2008

Thirteen people have been raised from the dead as a result of this outpouring so the enthusiasts say.  I simply ask this — can you please supply DMI with the names, addresses, phone numbers and Death Certificates of these, any individuals? After all if thirteen people have been raised from the dead by the power of God then, obviously, their experience will stand any form of scrutiny. I doubt seriously that Fresh Fire Ministries (the vortex of this most recent Saint Vitas’ dance of delusion) will respond at all to our request.

Who Is Behind The Lunacy at Lakeland?

Revivalist Todd Bentley, an obese, massively tattooed and pierced individual who started a ministry called “Fresh Fire Ministries” several years ago in Abbotsford, Canada. The following information comes from his own ministries webpage regarding his ministry background: “In his late teens, Todd had a dramatic encounter with the saving and delivering power of God. This experience brought Todd out of a lifestyle of drug and alcohol addiction without cravings or withdrawal symptoms. He was also delivered from a lifestyle involving criminal activity, youth prisons, drugs, sex satanic music and bondage. Todd’s miraculous conversion to Jesus was much like the Apostle Paul’s on the Damascus road. Todd was instantly transformed into a radical disciple and soul winning evangelist for Jesus. (Obtained from http://www.freshfire.ca/index.php?Id=101&pid=8 on 05-28-08 bolding added for emphasis).

I rejoice that God delivered Todd from such a sinful past (mirrors my own in many ways). But to compare ones conversion to that of the greatest Apostle in the Bible is a little grandiose. “God has drawn Todd into deep and intimate places of prayer. These extended times in God’s presence has released a fresh prophetic and miracle-healing anointing…He ministers prophetically, corporately and personally as well as brings forth the word of God with the power and demonstration of the Spirit — God confirming His word with signs and wonders following. God has released an increase of the healing anointing into Todd’s life to the point where the blind see, the deaf hear & growths dissolve as Jesus still heals every sickness and disease. (ibid. bolding added)

This is the typical template of any of the revivalist of our past. AA Allen, Jack Coe, T.L. Osborn, William Branham all wrote about spending hours “shut in {“ with God in deep prayer with the end result of being given supernatural powers to work miracles and heal the sick. Not only did God allegedly give Todd a fresh (is there a stale anointing?) prophetic and miracle-healing anointing it seems that God has released an INCREASE of the healing anointing into Todd’s life! This increased healing anointing is so powerful that the blind see, the deaf hear, growths dissolve, as Jesus (through Todd Bentley) still heals every sickness and disease. The following are a couple of testimonies from the Lakeland lunacy proving Todd’s magnificent healing anointing:

George: We have a man that can see out of a glass eye!  Never have I heard of a glass eye seeing. I need a minute to process this. You can’t see out of a glass eye? Never have before. I can see light and shadow. When the optic nerve registers, I’ll be able to see. This is more of a miracle than if the Lord gave him a real eye. (Obtained from http://www.revivallakeland.org/ on 05-28-08 bold type added).

(I must admit that is pretty good when a guy can see through his glass eye. Let’s just set aside the FACT that no further verifiable information is given and let’s forget that the biblical Jesus healed by restoration, I.e. withered hand made whole, deafness cured vs. giving the person a gold hearing aid, etc.) This testimony and other’s we will look at just prove the susceptibility of people who check their minds at the door !

One thing that is patently missing from Mr. Bentley’s testimony is the lack of any biblical education (I know some of you are saying, “here he goes again”) yet facts are facts. Here is a man going around the world teaching the Bible, yet without having been taught himself ! The only credentials that sign-seekers want to know about is whether or not the preacher has some divine personal encounter with God. It is the alleged encounter that counts and is given a higher precedence over formal seminary training. To the sign-seeker the divine encounter is a spiritual revelation directly from the Holy Spirit to your human spirit. Formal biblical training is merely head knowledge; one mans understanding being transmitted from a mere man to another, man (or woman). Spirit ALWAYS trumps the mind in the extremists’ life. Since Todd (or Hinn, Copeland, Meyer, Dollar, etc) have no formal training then obviously their teaching is coming from a “higher” source, that source being touted as none other then the Holy Spirit Himself. In Bentley’s case we have a man who the testimony of the Apostle Paul & the Lord Jesus Christ, talk about your double portion! Here is a glowing review written by the Publishers at Destiny Image Publications:

Todd Bentley is causing quite a stir worldwide. Some say he is being used by the Lord to bring healing and miracles to thousands of people — others are deeply skeptical of him and his ministry, Fresh Fire founded in 1979. What started for the 32-year-old Canadian as an invitation to speak at a church in Lakeland, Florida, in April 2008, has turned into a massively growing revival that now accommodates 10,000 people on land at the local airport. According to Fresh Fire Ministries 1.2 million people have watched the streaming broadcasts on the internet, and more then 140,000 people from at least 40 countries have attended the meetings. Todd’s book, The Journey into the Miraculous, tells of his dramatic deliverance as a teenager from a life of alcohol, drugs, prison, and the occult, launching him by the Holy Spirit into a worldwide ministry… According to Todd, “I was told by a modern-day prophet that I am part of the ‘first fruits’ wave of a billion people whom God would light on fire. I am a forerunner and one of many who will carry the healing anointing to the nations. God has lead me to put this book together not just to tell about my personal journey into the miraculous, but also to help people understand what God is doing in our time, and encourage readers to take steps of faith in areas where they may have been holding back.” As an evangelist and revivalist operating in a fresh prophetic and miracle-healing anointing. Todd has witnessed God heal hundreds of people who were: diseased with cancer, blind, addicted to drugs, alcohol and tobacco, and in bondage to Satan’s evil. Todd Bentley’s recently released book, The Reality of the Supernatural World: Exploring Heavenly Realms and Prophetic Experiences, teaches how Spirit-filled believers can take back what Satan has perverted, allowing them to explore the supernatural realms that God wants them to experience. Todd shares revelation about the supernatural world including: how to access it; types of experiences; locations in the supernatural; functions of angels; how to live under an open Heaven; and the price of accessing spiritual depth. (obtained from Destiny Image Communique” >dnj@destinyimage.com 06-06-08, (bold type added for emphasis).

I am troubled by everything about Mr. Bentley as I have already mentioned he declares to have had a conversion experience like Saul of Tarsus, is empowered with the miracle anointing of our Lord Jesus Christ and now we read that he is like John the Baptist in that he is a forerunner but his mission is to carry the healing anointing to the nations! Obviously, we are not dealing with a mere mortal but one of the super-charged end time remnant Ubermensch long prophesied to come by former heretics. A so called restored prophet Todd Bentley that he was one of a billion people God was going to set on “fire” Statistically that is pretty hard to swallow. There are around 2.1 billion professing Christians (obtained from http://www.adherents.com/Religions_By_Adherents.html), so that means one out of 2 Christians will become “Todd-like.” Me thinks not.

What is more troubling than these grandiose claims of Bentley’s are his statements about teaching God’s people which are unbiblical and occultic in nature. He claims to teach God’s people how to take back from Satan the ability to “explore the supernatural realms that God wants them to experience.” Where in the entire Bible are we told that God wants us to explore supernatural realms? Where are we told that Satan has somehow hindered us from doing so? According to my knowledge of world cultures, and religions, Satan is constantly moving shamans, witchdoctors, crones, and others to delve into the supernatural to have mystical “experiences” via mind-altering drugs and practices. The Lord Never encourages His people to attempt to explore the supernatural or seek after supernatural experiences as Todd is teaching. Not only is this a false teaching it is a dangerous one. Bentley goes on to say that he will teach people how to access the supernatural, what types of experiences they can expect (I am sure it is nothing more than the usual holy laughter, spiritual drunkenness, being slain in the spirit, flapping, flopping and jumping about). Todd will reveal locations in the supernatural ! Again, where does the Bible speak of any of this?  This is all “new” revelation which does not proceed from the Holy Spirit. Here is an example of Mr. Bentley “ministering”. The following is a direct transcript from a You Tube Video:

The woman was standing in the back of the room when the faith of God hit the meeting, and her tumor exploded out of her right leg, slid down her leg onto the floor! (Audience applause) I said, “God I prayed for like a hundred crippled people, Not one? He said, “That’s because I want you to grab that lady’s crippled legs and bang them up-and-down on the platform like a baseball bat.” (Audience laughter) I walked up and grabbed her legs, and I started going, BAM! BAM! I started banging them up-and-down on the plat[form]! She got healed! And I’m thinking, God why is not the power of God moving? He said, “Because you haven’t kicked that woman in the face.” (Audience laughter) And there is this old lady worshipping right in front of the platform. (Audience laughter) And the Holy Spirit spoke to me — the gift of faith came on me — He said, “Kick her in the face with your biker-boot.” I inched closer and I went like this [Todd Bentley performs a kick with his right leg and yells] BAM! (Audience laughter) And just as my boot made contact with her nose, she fell under the power of God. (audience laughter ) Obtained from: http://www.christianresearchservice.com on 06-09-08).

Does this sound like the manner in which Jesus ministered healing? Is “God’s” power moving dependent upon anything we do, especially kicking an elderly woman in the face? To Bentley the gift of faith equals doing something bizarre and then attributing it to the Holy Spirit.

Is the Revival Biblical ?

Is revivalism biblical? That depends upon how we define our terms. To the charismatic extremist revival is when the Holy Spirit re-descends upon people in a certain locale and they are moved to repentance, or their spiritual joy restored or they are empowered to serve God in some dramatic manner. Please understand that the concept of “revivals” themselves comes out of either some portion of so-called restored Pentecostalism or pietism, both experiences based groups.

In the united States revivalism was directly tied to Pentecostalism and the belief that the Lord Jesus was soon to return. They believed He sent the Holy Spirit again to give people the gift of tongues to go into the entire world and proclaim the Gospel. This was the foundation of the Azusa Street revival of 1906. Well, Jesus did not return as quickly as hoped so Pentecostalism formed into distinct denominations. Forty years later after World War ll another “revival” broke out this time it was not a “soul-saving and healing revival” as opposed to seeking the salvation of the world, this revival was more concerned with healings and miracles. It was run by men such as William M. Branham, Jack Coe, AA Allen, Oral Roberts, T.L. Osborn and a few others. It died out due to the exposure of fraud, immorality, lack of verifiable proof and the people simply wanting something more.

Almost forty years later the next really true “revival” has to be considered that initiated by Rodney Howard Browne, dubbed “the Holy Ghost Bartender,” In short his unbiblical manifestations became the hallmark of the latest move of the Spirit and they initially became centered at Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship (TAF) , from whence it spread to Holy Trinity, Bromptom England, from there via Steve Hill to Brownsville Assembly of God (BAG) in Pensacola, Florida. What differentiated this New Wine being poured out from the other two previous moves of the Spirit, was that it was a revival of “Joy” one in which the Heavenly Father came down to play with His children. I kid you not, I heard this in person, saw it played out in person at TACF, filmed it and dissected it and found nothing but filth. The end result of TACF and the BAG was that both churches underwent splits. The senior pastor’s left when the crowds died down and the sign-seekers were left unfulfilled and still hungry for “more” of God, since they had received little to no true spiritual nutrition. NEVER FORGET THE FOLLOWING QUOTE:

Son, let me tell you something. Do you know when you can tell a revival meeting is over? Do you know when God’s saying to move on to the next town? When you can turn people on their head and shake them and no money falls out, then you know God’s saying ‘Move on, son’, — A.A. Allen message to brother Marjoe Gortner. Obtained from the Preachers, James Morris St. Martin’s Press.

This is exactly what happened at TACF and BAG, the crowds thinned out, the other leaders in the church felt abused and used. The revivalists had all become extremely wealthy and left town! Now out of the blue we have another revival! Suddenly signs and wonders are being performed (this time down the way in Lakeland vs. Pensacola) Now the hungry can run and be filled with empty promises of power and glory. They can have a safe place to go enthusiastically mad and engage in the St. Vitas dance of delusion once more. Oh, make no mistake my friends, these experiences are powerful, fun, and very addictive (I speak from personal experience) and when they are grabbed in the clothing of the so called “anointing” of the Spirit they become holy to the practitioners. Let’s close with some simple Bible thoughts. Does the Bible prophecy a great world-wide end-time soul-saving revival? No it does not. As opposed to a great “ingathering” of souls the Bible speaks of a great falling away (2 Thess. 2:3) an apostasy. Our Lord Himself speaks rhetorically by asking if when He returns will He find faith on the earth (See Luke 18:8), no! Jesus is also caustic regarding those who run hither and thither seeking signs:

A wicked and adulterous generation looks for a miraculous sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah.” Jesus then left them and went away.  Matthew 16:4

He considers such people (1) wicked and (2) adulterous, why? Primarily because these people are not seeking Jesus per se, they are seeking loaves and fishes, they’re looking to gain spiritual power and not the face of God. Jesus excoriates those who dare to claim to be the ones working the signs and wonders:

Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles? “Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you, Away from me, you evildoers!” Matthew 7:22,23

I fear for Todd and all like him and their alleged “fresh prophetic anointing” and the false unfulfilled words they proclaim in the name of our Lord. The deliverances and miracles they say they have done in the name of Jesus… yet our Master says “I never knew you” Let me say that in the Greek this is very plain it does not imply “I used to know you, but I don’t know you now,” No Jesus NEVER knew these folks. What is more what on the surface seemed to be a good work, I.e. prophetic words, demonic deliverances, miracles Jesus calls those doing such things evildoers not doers of good!

The Bible is filled with warnings about false prophets, false apostles, false teachers, when will our sign-seeking friends awake to these warnings?

Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruit ye shall know them. Matt. 7:15-20

Our Lord warns us to beware of the false prophets — they are coming in droves.

And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.   Matthew 24:11-13.

What is the “fruit” of these false prophetic Sinisters? Many (a huge number in the Greek) shall be deceived, not blessed. The love of many (same word in the Greek) shall grow cold towards Jesus due to all the fraud being perpetrated in His holy name. The false words, the fake healings, the fraudulent claims will cause many unstable believers to become shipwrecked. Again and again our Lord warns His Church to beware (be-ware) false prophets, i.e. people who come in His name, show signs and wonders and YET do not belong to Jesus at all.

This is why the Apostle John warns: Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God; because many false prophets are gone out into the world. 1 John 4:1

Even from the beginning of the Church MANY false prophets went out to deceive God’s children, how many more so today? Many today even claim to be apostles (I have met and spoken with no less than six of these deceivers):

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 ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.   2 Cor. 11:13-15

As a former charismatic extremist I taught much about the “five-fold” ministry of Christ (Apostle, Prophet, Pastor, Teacher, and Evangelist) it was not until my deliverance from doctrinal darkness that I saw another false five-fold ministry in the Bible as well consisting of: false shepherds, false prophets, false apostles, false teachers, and false brethren… and to add a sixth, false Christs.

Charismatic extremists say that they have more faith in God to keep them doctrinally pure than in the devil to mislead them. I admit that sounds pious and faithful, yet if this were the case then why do we have ALL the warnings about being deceived in the Old and New Covenants? If what our extremists’ brethren proclaim is true then the Bible must be wrong. Scripture consistently warns us to “beware.” Beware of what and of whom? Without a doubt God is Almighty and Sovereign, yet the almighty and sovereign God has seen fit to warn His children to be alert to their foe. Here are a few examples:

Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing. But inwardly they are ravening wolves, Matthew 7:15

But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues   Matthew 7:17

Beware of the dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision.   Phip 3:2

Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. Col. 2:8

Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also being led away with the error of the wicked fall from your own steadfastness 2 Peter 3:17

Truth Matters my brothers and sisters and in these last days God has spoken to us through His Son and all we need is to look to Jesus through God’s Word and find the satisfaction our souls yearn for. What is transpiring in Lakeland, FL, is not a move of the Holy Spirit anymore than what recently occurred in TACF and Brownsville, both revivals left behind them thousands of disillusioned people. Some of these no doubt have run to Lakeland hoping against hope that maybe this will be the “real deal”. Sadly, they will find out the hard way this Lakeland is nothing more then excited ignorance in which our Lord is neither glorified nor present. Pray for those being mislead by the plethora of false prophets and apostles today! ♦

Copyright © 2008  Robert S. Liichow

 





Hearing The Voice of God – Part Two

26 01 2010
Truth Matters Newsletters – May 2008 Vol. 13  Issue 4 – Hearing The Voice of God Part Two – By Rev. Robert S. Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

Hearing The Voice of God Part Two

By Rev. Robert S. Liichow

Last month I began to lay the axe to the root of a common error, one that is held dearly in the minds of many Christians both sign-gift folks and evangelicals alike and that is the belief that God speaks to them personally.

For well over twenty years I most assuredly believed that God did speak to His people (especially the “great” ones who led the charismatic movement) and that all I had to do was the necessary work in order to get myself in the correct spiritual position to tune-in to His frequency. It was commonly taught among us that God was always speaking to us, but most of us simply were not listening to His voice due to a myriad of things in our lives. Because of our low level of spiritual maturity God out of His Fatherly kindness restored prophets back to the Church so we could go to them and hear the present day truth (2 Pet. 1:12) and hear the word of the Lord until such time as we could mature and discern His voice ourselves.

I realize that you are probably shaking your head wondering how I (and millions more) could be misled into believing such nonsense. It really is not difficult to understand if you begin with the premise that God is speaking to all His children personally and individually and this premise is taught by very charismatic (in the personality sense of the term) individuals who regale the audience with their own experiences in “hearing” God on a daily basis. When this type of message is reinforced by every teacher you see on television, in conferences, and in your local church then you believe what they are saying.

The problem with what was taught to me and is currently being taught to multitudes of people is that it was not validated with any contextual scriptural evidence. Almost all the accounts we heard were anecdotal accounts passed on as gospel truth to us sign-seeking power mongers. That message is very appealing to most Christians, after all, who does not want to have such a close fellowship with Almighty God where He converses with one throughout the day! When you as a mere low-wattage believer hear that type of fellowship is available to you (if you pay the price, which varies according to the teacher) naturally you will strive to obtain it.

What we learned in last month’s Truth Matters is that throughout the entire Bible very few individuals ever actually held conversations with God. Those who did actually “hear” from the Lord were people whom God used to change the course of either the people of Israel or His Church. The Ancient of Days is never seen merely chatting with His children about mundane affairs, who to marry, what job to take, which local church to attend. It simply is not in the Bible.

When I first began to come to the biblical understanding my initial reaction was to reject it on the grounds that it seemed to make Christian Spirituality “dry” and certainly not dynamic. I also had to struggle with the reality that all the years I thought I was hearing God “speaking” to me personally was not the case. Once again I had been misled by a myriad of teachers, many of whom were no doubt will intentioned, but just as deceived as I was. This was (and sadly still is) a classic case of the blind leading the blind and all of us sign-seekers falling into the ditch of deception (see Mat. 15:14) Yet thanks be to God who sent Jesus to open the eyes of the blind (see Luke 4:18) and I certainly qualified.

It is not just the sign-seekers who have been misled, although they are more numerous but also many “Baptistic” evangelicals as well. Charismatic believers have their teachers and so do the evangelicals. The primarily disseminator of this error is Henry Blackaby:

For thousands of Baptist churches in America today, as well as churches of many other denominations [including Roman Catholic churches], the answer has been that they accept and embrace this teaching, as found in the best-selling workbook Experiencing God: Knowing and Doing the Will of God, by Henry T. Blackaby (co-authored by Claude V. King and published by Lifeway Press of Nashville, Tennessee)…

Blackaby clearly states that God is giving revelation to us in the same way. He did to Moses and Jesus, only now through the Holy Spirit versus direct communication with God the Father. It certainly appears as if Blackaby is teaching that God’s revelation is continuing today just as when the Old and New Testaments were written. Obtained from Adapted from two articles by Thomas Williamson (Assistant Pastor of Tabemaculo Bautista Metropolitaro, Chicago, Illinois).

Blackaby goes as far as to say that if a Christian is not personally hearing from God then there is something seriously wrong with them. Naturally Blackaby was a “darling” on the speaker’s circuit of the Promise Keepers and his 12 week course materials have been adopted by not only Protestant congregations, but Roman Catholic groups as well as the charismatic extremist Vineyard movement. I mentioned Blackaby in conjunction with the charismatic teachers to illustrate how widespread this specific error is.

The tremendous spiritual danger inherent in such teaching is that it usually leads to spiritual abuse by the leaders. On page 166 of Experiencing God. Knowing and Doing the Will of God we read the following:

“When God wants to reveal His will to a church, He will begin by speaking to one or more individuals. Because of the nature of his call and assignment from God, this is often the pastor, although it may be another member of the body. The pastor’s job is to bear witness to the church about what he senses God is saying.”

In other words God will speak to the pastor and the role of the people is to “swallow-and-follow” the direction coming to the pastor from “on high”. I know from personal experience how much harm and abuse occurs when any leader is given this much authority. Also Blackaby endorses the false belief that there is only one correct way to go in every situation of life. This places an ungodly and unbiblical burden on people who must then struggle and worry if whatever they decide to do is in fact God’s will for their lives. This bondage often leads people to relying heavily on their pastor or spiritual overseer to tell them which way to go and what to do in life, again this leads to spiritual abuse most times.

Another problem which is never adequately addressed by those who teach this error is how does one determine if it is “God” or Satan who is speaking to their minds? Usually the pat answer is that whatever God tells you will line up with the Scriptures. Yet didn’t Satan cite Scriptures when he tempted our Lord (Matthew 4:5)? Yes, Satan took the verses out of context, yet how many Christians are skilled in hermeneutics to really know the difference? Also, the voice of God nine times out of ten will guide us in the direction we had already determined to go, i.e. God usually agrees with us!

These are just a few of the problems associated with the belief that God is personally speaking to all His children. I am sorry if what I am writing offends some of you; it was somewhat offensive to me when I first encountered it too. Yet DMI has a mandate to “teach truth and expose error,” regardless of how cherished the error may be. This much I can assure you, if you will humble your hearts and stick to the truth of God’s Word you will be set free indeed (see John 8:32). Sometimes spiritual surgery can be painful, but Jesus is the Great Physician, the Balm of Gilead and the One who rose with healing in His wings (Mal. 4:2) as we continue to submit ourselves to the absolute authority of His Word we will be healed. Additionally, we shall also experience more and more of the glorious liberty and inexpressible joy (1 Peter 1:8) that belongs to us as the children of God.

How Does God Speak to Us Today ?

I believe the Holy Spirit says it best in the first Chapter of the book of Hebrews:

In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many time and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. Hebrews 1:1-2

He begins by saying that in the past God did speak to the patriarchs at many times and in various ways (dreams, visions, angels, etc). Yet now in these last days God has spoken to us personally through no less than God the Son. It is no mistake that Jesus is called “The Word of God” in the book of the Revelation (Rev. 19:13) and that phrase is used 48 times in both the old and New testaments always referring to what God is saying.

This is one of the beautiful things about having the Holy Scriptures. Every child of God can know exactly and with certainty what God is saying. There is no guesswork, no subjective sensing or feeling led to go one direction or another. No need to strive to achieve some mystical level or work to obtain some hidden gnosis. It is all in front of us in black and white!

Today, now that Christ has set me free from my former charismania, I am amazed and grieved at the thousands of people flocking to the various so-called restored prophets to get a “word” from the Lord when they have in their hands the Bible which is completely trustworthy and accurate which is far more than can be said of any of today’s crop of pathetic prophet$. Again this is indicative of a serious problem within the Church at large. There are multitudes of people whether charismatic or evangelical who are placing more trust in their own ability to subjectively hear from God, while ignoring His written God.

The Bible is the voice of God to His people. It is all sufficient and within its pages is contained all we will ever need to know about living a life of godliness that is fully pleasing to our God. In a few lines the sweet psalmist of Israel speaks of the vast storehouse of wealth between the covers of our Holy Bible:

1. The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul.

2. The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple.

3. The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart.

4. The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes.

5. The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever.

6. The ordinances of the LORD are sure and altogether righteous.

7. They are more precious than gold, than much pure gold;

8. By them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward. Psalm 19:7-11

King David seems to be in a musical rapture in this psalm, he begins by extolling the awe inspiring wonders of God’s creation and then into ecstasy as he uses one superlative after another in describing the value and inherent power contained in the Word of God.

1. It is perfect (complete, sound — 1. Complete, whole, entire, healthful, of men).

In a time when many of God’s children grow weary, we can turn to God’s Word for true revival.

2. It is trustworthy (confirm, support –1. Pillars. Supporters of the door, made firm, sure, lasting, verified, faithful,) In a time when many things are in flux we can know that heaven and earth will pass away before even a “jot” of the Bible fails (Matthew 5:18). If we lack wisdom, all we need do is ask of God who gives us wisdom via His Word liberally (James 1:5).

3. It is right (ethical sense, straightforward, upright, Pi. 1. make smooth, straight, make smooth or straight, i.e. free from obstacles, successful; in ethical sense). In a world that only leads people astray from God, His Word gives us joy by leading us to the Shepherd of our souls.

4. It is radiant (light, light is closely related to life and happiness, which may account for the frequent comparisons between God and light. In line with this usage Dahood argues that “to see light” is often really to see the light of God’s face in immortality (Psa 36:9 [H 10]; and contra Psa 49:19 [H 20]). In a spiritually blind world, groping around for answers, we can turn to God’s Word and receive illumination to direct our daily path.

5. It is pure (adj. clean, pure –ethically pure, clean; of heart; hands; eyes (of God); words of men; words of God; law of y as object of reverential fear.) The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge (Proverbs 1:7) and wisdom (Psalm 111:10). Those who rightly fear the Lord have obtained this wisdom and knowledge through His Word and they shall endure forever!

6. It is sure (firmness, faithfulness, truth (contr. For fr.) reliability, sureness, stability, continuance. An attribute of God. Truth (a) as spoken. (b) of testimony and judgment. of divine instruction. (d) truth as a body of ethical or religious knowledge. In a time of uncertainty we can trust that God is watching over His Word to perform it (Jer. 1:12).

7. It is more precious than gold and anyone with half-sense should know that the eternal riches of God cannot compare with the best of the best in this fallen sinful world.

8. It warns us (teach, warn, admonish. The meaning “teach” is probably basic to the root. The most frequent meaning is “warn,” which is used fourteen times in two chapters alone, Ezek 3 and 33, the classic portions dealing with the responsibility of watchmen to warn people under their care (Ezek 3:17-21; Ezek 33:3-9). Not only does the Word of God warn us from what is dangerous to our spiritual and physical wellbeing we are also told that by being a doer of the Word we will be blessed (James 1:25).

Just from these few verses from one psalm we can see the richness of abiding in the Word of God and hearing God speak to us through His Word. How can we keep our way morally pure and upright in God’s sight, simple — Psalm 119:9. How can we know about Jesus and His ministry, again we look to the Word of God (see Luke 24:32) as Jesus revealed His ministry. Do we need to run to a so-called prophet? NO!! We have a more sure word of prophecy (2 Peter 1:19).

God is indeed speaking to us, as He has to all His people throughout the Church age, by speaking to us through His infallible Word. Blessed is the man who trust in the Lord, how is he or she to know the Lord? Simply according to what He has revealed as His will in the Scriptures.

For anyone to seek any additional information than what God has given to us in the Bible is to in effect accuse God of not giving us all we need. Yet the Apostle Peter says:

Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord. According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. 2 Peter 1:2-4

Our gracious heavenly Father has given to us everything we need to know in order to live a life that is fully pleasing to Him. Seeking additional information through dreams, visions, or going on long fasts in hopes of achieving some mystical insight is to denigrate the value of the Scriptures and is an evidence of a lack of genuine faith in God’s provision.

It is my hope that all of you reading these two articles will begin to rely fully on God’s written Word and cast aside any dependence upon “voices” or “leadings” that are subjective at best and have no grounding in the Bible. God’s Word is more than enough and I encourage all of us to dig into the “Book” like never before in order to draw truly closer to our God and thus walk in His will for our lives.

Psalm 100:5

For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.

2 Samuel 22:31

As for God his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is flawless. He is a shield for all who take refuge in him.

A good book you might enjoy reading on this topic is written by a fellow pastor and apologist named Gary E. Gilley.  His latest book is a well presented argument for the sufficiency of Scripture and a solid refutation for those who have been misled into thinking that God is indeed speaking directly to them and giving them daily guidance.

It would be a good addition to anyone’s library, especially if you know of family members or friends who are being misled by this specific false teaching.

DMI does not receive anything from the sale of our brother’s book, but as is our custom we gladly promote other ministries which are teaching truth and exposing error and brother Gilley surely does this in his book entitled “Is that You Lord?”  It is published by Evangelical Press and is available on Amazon.com.  I am not sure of the retail price because DMI’s copy was given to us by some dear friends in S. Lake Tahoe. 

Copyright © Robert S. Liichow





“HEARING” THE VOICE OF GOD

23 01 2010
Truth Matters Newsletters – April 2008 Vol. 13 Issue 4 – “Hearing the Voice of God – By Rev. Robert S. Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

Hearing the Voice of God

By Rev. Robert S. Liichow

One of the most frustrating things for me as a charismatic extremist was hearing the various testimonies of my teachers regarding hearing the voice of God. All of these men and women made it abundantly clear to us mere sheep that they were in fact in daily, if not, moment-to-moment communication with the Ancient of Days.

Usually their sermons or lessons began with statements like “ I was in prayer the other night and the Lord said to me ‘son why don’t you explain what faith is to My people’ and I said yes Lord and He opened my eyes to the scriptures like never before.” Obviously, we as the hearers upon hearing this statement buckled down in our seats, got out our pens and took notes on what was divinely revealed to the speaker (you can insert almost anyone’s name e.g. Ken Hagin, Copeland, Savelle, Dollar, Price, Jakes, White, Meyer, Dupantis, Hayes, et al.). After their stirring words we little sheep would wander to our homes wondering what did it take to actually “hear the voice of God”? We were literally in awe of people like Kenneth Hagin senior who said on a regular basis that God was more “real to him then his wife.” Also, Mr. Hagin was a man who claimed to have had at least seven (7) direct face-to-face encounters with the risen Christ, during which encounters Mr. Hagin was given revelations which became some of the body of his teachings {doctrine}. Obviously Mr. Hagin and many of our other teachers had a relationship with Jesus Christ that we did not have. Hagin used to share an anecdote that went something like this: “A man told me he was afraid of anyone who said God spoke to them, I answered him back and said I was afraid of anyone who God didn’t speak to!” In context let me add that Hagin was not talking about God speaking through His Word, he meant God speaking directly to us as individuals. Hagin’s position was that it was normative for God to speak to His children.

This obviously lack of intimate fellowship with the Godhead that our teachers seemed to have led many of us “on-fire” saints (me included) on the “hunt” for obtaining such an equally close fellowship with our Lord and Savior. After all, who does not want to “hear” the Holy Spirit say directly to them “go this way, turn left on Elm, “ or marry this woman,” or “accept this job position, it is My will.” Hearing from “God” on that level would take all of the guesswork out of life. If a person could hear so clearly from the Lord it would equal an error-free life (something God nowhere promises any of us in His Word) assuming the individual heeded everything the Lord told Him directly.

I’ll let you in on one of charismania’s dirty little secrets. A large portion of what charismatic teachers offer to those who will follow can be condensed into the claim that they (the teacher) possesses some spiritual experience which can be anyone’s if they will learn how to “tap in” as their teacher did. This experience can include some of the following examples: receiving revelation knowledge, receiving divine healing; walking in divine life; increasing the anointing in one’s life; achieving financial prosperity among other claims. Naturally merely attending a conference will probably not give one any of the above abilities. Thus the seeker is urged by the SINister or his or her shills to purchase books, tapes and DVD’s on the experience being sought, all of which happen to be for sale, authored by the SINister just outside the arena (all major credit cards accepted).

Apart from the extraordinary gifts, such as the power to heal or work miracles, every charismatic teacher claims to hear directly from God. The old expression “from God’s lips to my ear” would be wildly accepted by these people. Most Christian’s will accept that they will probably not work miracles or heal the lame, but at least they can hear from God can’t they?

The question is a simple one —does the Bible teach that the children of God would in fact hear His voice and be led by Him directly and individually? It does not matter how many people vociferously declare that God speaks to them directly to their spirits. As discerning Christians we must always go back and look at what the Bible teaches concerning this or any other matter being foist upon us.

Really the challenge is in the court of the charismatic extremists to prove to us biblically that it is the practice of God to speak individually to His children. The spiritual enthusiast has two general responses to this challenge. The popular response today (at least since the Holy Laughter paranormal manifestations) has been well expressed by Jack Deere, a former Dallas Theological Seminary professor who went off the spiritual rails so to speak:

God can and does give personal words of direction to believers today that cannot be found in the Bible. I do not believe that he gives direction that contradicts the Bible, but direction that cannot be found in the Bible.

According to Dr. Deere, John Arnott and a host of other charismatic leaders God speaks to His children all the time, gives them guidance, but it is of such a type that cannot be verified biblically. The best they can say is that any supernatural direction given, whether through dreams, visions, apparitions or voices will not violate the Bible!

This is the same type of argument that John Arnott (former pastor of the Toronto Airport Christian Church i.e. vortex of the holy laughter nonsense) gave me personally in our e-mail correspondence. Mr. Arnott in answering my concerns regarding all the non-biblical manifestations my wife and I eye witnessed in his congregation was simply to begin by citing John 21:25

Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written. John 21:25 (KJV)

Arnott’s response to me was simply that what was taking place in the outpouring of the “new wine” of the Holy Spirit was nothing new, it just was not recorded in the Bible for us to read about. Holy Laughter, making animal noises, being slain in the spirit, uncontrollable jumping, jerking and running are simply part of the “many other things” Jesus did as well !!!

I responded by asking Arnott how can we know that what is happening is biblical if the Bible is silent on this specific matter? What are we to use as our guide pertaining to spiritual matters? His response was to direct me to all the good fruit being borne by the revival, the joy, the laughter, the changed lives of those undergoing these manifestations.

In the words of the arch-heretic Kenneth Copeland “that dog won’t hunt!” If the best Arnott can do is point me to subjective paranormal experiences that some people were undergoing as proof that it was “God” at work then he has a great deal to learn about religious experiences. I can take Arnott to various ashrams where the same manifestations are being experienced by the devotees of various power gurus and these followers will give passionate explanation of how their lives have been changed.

Appealing to anything other than the Bible as the final arbitrator of doctrine and experience is to leave oneself wide open to demonic deception, delusion, and disappointment. What today’s charismatic enthusiasts want the Church to do is simply accept their teachings, experiences and practices on the power of their word alone, not on the authority of God’s Word.

I warned Mr. Arnott that he and those like him were in danger of becoming a cult due to their going down the same pathway all the Bible-based cults have gone. The reason we call them “Bible-based” cults is due to their claim to believe in the Bible, however God has given them further revelation whether it is in the form of the New World Translation of the JW’s, or the Book of Mormon, The Divine Principle, The Scripture Keys to Science and Health or the Mo Letters. So for these cults it boils down to a formula like — The Bible + new revelations/writings {guess which ends up being authoritative }. Many charismatic are in the same place — The Bible + new revelations, fortunately the Bible still seems to hold ultimate authority in may of their lives.

The second response to our apologetic challenge is a finally turning to the Bible and cherry pick examples that seem to fit their particular belief or practice. In the case of our topic, they will show us people God talked to and use these examples to attempt to prove these encounters as normative. This is GREAT! Always guide the discussion with these misguided folks back to the Bible, because we both can agree that it is God’s Word and as Christians It is binding on our lives. So then the weight is upon us to prove our position is in fact – the biblical one.

Who “Heard” the voice of God?

Old Testament

Adam & Eve: Obviously we can start with them. They not only heard the voice of God, but also walked with Him in the cool of the garden (Genesis 2:3). Obviously none of us can use Adam and Eve as our examples of fellowship with God since after they sinned and were kicked out of the garden their face-to-face communication ceased with the Lord.

Noah: Yes Noah heard from God directly. Since it had never rained on the earth until the flood I’m sure the Lord had some things to make clear to Noah, such as the directions on building the ark and who to place within it. (Gen. 6:9). Noah conversations with the Lord can hardly be normative since it involved the salvation of mankind.

Job: Only towards the end of the book of Job (Job 38-42) do we read of Job having a divine communication from the Lord.

Abraham: Over the entire span of his long life Abraham heard directly from the Lord in various manners only 16 times, hardly a daily ongoing conversation between The Ancient of Days of the patriarch of the faith!

Sarah: She only was spoken to once, which she initially denied saying what she had said (read Gen 18).

Moses: He holds the “record” of hearing from God, but then leading a few million Jews no doubt required quite a bit of direction. We read are approximately 85 times when God spoke to Moses. Again the majority of these times had to do specifically with the economy of God and the leading of God’s people.

Aaron: Moses’ brother and first high priest, he heard from God about 14 times, again always involving serious matters.

Joshua: The man who replaced Moses and led the people across the Jordan — again only around 13 or so experiences with the “voice of God” in his life.

Samuel: The great prophet of the Lord, we know at the beginning of his ministry the Lord spoke to him and he did not even recognize the Lord’s voice (1 Sam. 3) How the “word of the Lord” came to him and the other prophets we are not always told. We do know that in Samuel’s time the “word of the Lord was rate” (3:1) and there were few visions. What I am focusing our attention on is direct, personal communication from God to individuals.

David: The sweet psalmist of Israel, you’d think he would had daily running conversations with the Lord (like Hagin, Copeland, and others claim), But, no, go read the accounts of his life again and you’ll find less than 12 direct encounters Person-to-person.

Solomon: One of Israel’s most blessed kings, wisest of all O.T. personages, he only had 3 experiences hearing directly from the Lord. (read 1 Kings, 3:5-14; 9:2-9; 11:11-13).

My brothers and sisters there are many other O.T. examples I could cite, but these examples should make it very clear that people in general never personally heard God’s voice. Even God’s specially chosen vessels, rarely heard His voice and when they did it was regarding salvation’s history in some form or another.

The charismatic belief that throughout biblical history God is just chattering away to His people simply doesn’t stand up to any close examination of the Bible. Of course many within the charismatic movement will point that we are “New Testament” believers, ergo we should consider the New Testament as our “norm.” Ok, let’s take a quick look through the New Testament.

New Testament

Again our sign-gift inclined brethren would have us believe that under the new covenant we find our heavenly Father speaking to His children on a regular basis, leading and guiding them via personal speaking, dreams, visions and even angels. However, as Christians we must allow the Bible to be our guide, not subjective personal experiences. We know that during Jesus’ ministry when God spoke it was at times considered thunder by those who heard it (see John 12:29). On the Mount of Transfiguration when Peter, John and James did hear the audible voice of God they were speechless (see Mark 9). There is absolutely no evidence that “God” apart from the personal earthly ministry of Jesus, God and Son, ever spoke internally to any of the disciples in the Gospels.

As a former charismatic I’d be quick to argue that the Book of Acts is really the template for the Church and that’s where will find God speaking to about everyone. I also used to believe that miracles were commonplace and were being wrought by just about every Miriam, Peter and John. Folks the truth is, as with hearing the voice of God, very few people were ever used by God throughout the entire Bible to work a miracle. Think about it, write them all down and you will have a very short list. Common sense dictates that if miracles where commonplace then they would cease to be “miraculous.”

Well if one reads the Book of Acts carefully one will discover that the vast majority of the times we read of God speaking directly or even indirectly, say through an angel, less than twenty times and the majority of these times were involving the Apostle Peter and Paul. The few others so specifically guided by God were folks like Agabus (a prophet), Cornelius (whose salvation was a catalyst for the Gentiles), and Ananias (who went to pray for a man named “Saul”.

What is remarkable about each occurrence is that none of these individuals were seeking to hear from God directly! God was the One who reached out to them. Also keep in mind that none of these people were ever taught any formula, hidden keys, or method on how to hear from God (which is a very popular subject in almost all Christian bookstores & conferences). Even more astounding is the FACT that no one is ever counseled to seek to hear God’s voice.

A simple truth that really “blew” my mind in seminary was when I learned from Dr. Eugene Mayhew that the Book of Acts is a historical account of what took place in the early Church and NOT a template on how to do Church. This was contrary to everything I had been taught as a sign-seeking believer. However, once you realize this is true you see that everything that took place in Acts is not normative nor to be expected in the daily life of Christians today.

Some may respond “but brother Liichow doesn’t the Apostle Paul tell us that those who are led by the Spirit of God are the sons of God (Rom. 8:14)?” Yes, but the text does not say “those who hear from God directly are the sons of God.” In fact, this text does not tell use exactly how God’s Spirit will lead us. Sign-gift folk insert voices, dreams, visions, visits from Jesus and /or angels into the text in invisible ink. They may assent that this text does not say exactly how the Spirit will lead us but will often counter with another text, this time from the Gospels. “Didn’t Jesus say that ‘My sheep hear My voice’ so obviously His true hear from God!” The context of John 10:16 is regarding sheep and goats and the fact that untimely there will be one flock (Jew & Gentiles together) under one Shepherd, Jesus. Jesus is not speaking about some private conversation(s) He will have with His sheep. Compare this text with Romans 10:17 “faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” Add to this “how shall they hear without a preacher’? (Rom. 10:14). Jesus was not speaking about Him personally talking with His sheep. Oh yes He does “call” us but He does so generally through the foolishness of preaching or even through our baptism.

Some Charismatic Comments

“In June God gave us a vision of the world with silver and gold bands covering the entire globe —we began to understand that God was telling us to take the message…” Charles and Francis Hunter, How to Heal the Sick, Hunter Books, pg. 1.

“I could hear the Spirit of God challenging me, “You’ve approached it wrongly. You’ve worked on the wrong end of the thing. You fasted and you prayed that I would do something and I’ve done all I’m ever going to do…” Kenneth E. Hagin, The Art of Intercession, Faith Library, pg. 47

My Father said to me (oh, I could hear His voice so plainly as He spoke to me), ‘Son, you don’t know how that delights My heart…You know, He said to me, ‘I made man so I’d have someone to fellowship with. I made man for My companion…I’ll put this way (and He said it is just these words), I made man so I’d have someone to pal with,’ “ Kenneth E. Hagin, Growing Up, Spiritually, Faith Library, pp. 64-65.

“The Spirit of God spoke up on the inside of me and said, ‘She has been holding fast to the problem al of these years. If she had prayed in faith she wouldn’t have prayed all those other 24 years…But she has bound Me from the situation by the words of her mouth.” Charles Capps, Releasing the Ability of God, Harrison House, p. 38.

“I asked the Lord, ‘Why did the centurion have that kind of faith…The Lord said, ‘He was a military man who understood authority because he was under authority. If you will teach My people to understand authority as this man understood authority, they will operate in the same kind of faith.” Charles Capps, Authority, Harrison House, p. 5

“Just this Pat: God is telling me to go and share the message of His power an the baptism of the Holy Spirit with Mrs. Peale.” Pat Robertson & Jamie Buckingham, Shout It From the Rooftops, Logos, p. 66

Fear not, I am sent from the presence of Almighty God to tell you that your peculiar life and your misunderstood ways have been to indicate that God has sent you to take a gift of divine healing to the people of the world. IF YOU WILL BE SINCERE, AND CAN GET THE PEOPLE TO BELIEVE YOU, NOTHING SHALL STAND BEFORE YOUR PRAYER, NOT EVEN CANCER… He told me how I would be able to detect diseases by vibrations on my hand. He went away, but I have seen him several times since then.” Gordon Lindsay, William Branham A Man Sent From God, Voice of Healing, p. 77.

The BIG Question

These are just a very few examples of some instances where well known charismatic leaders are relating a little of their personal conversations with the Lord. In the same arena we have to also include today’s restored prophets and the “word of the Lord” they proclaim to congregations and individuals (that also is a common charismatic way to hear from God). The question for either individuals hearing from God or from the mouth of an alleged restored prophet is the same: “Why isn’t the words you’ve received from God authoritative?” In other words if God is indeed speaking then what is said should be transcribed and placed in the back of the Bible, right? Since when does God’s “word” cease to become God’s word to us? Also, if the words received in whatever manner (through a neo-Montantist prophet, dream, and vision or audible voice) is not elevated to such a level, then what good are they?

Our sign-gift brethren have a problem on their hands (as does anyone who says they have heard directly from God) and their response is to say that these words are a combination of both our flesh & the Lord which is what many leaders suggest having mature believers discern the wheat from the chaff so to speak. They say this is the biblical pattern as taught by the Apostle Paul in 1 Cor. 14:29. This text says let 2 or 3 prophets speak and the others should weigh carefully what is said. That’s fine considering at the time there were still prophets in the Church as well as false prophets! The Corinthians being sign-gift driven needed to be told to “judge” what was being told them in the name of the Lord. Plus there is nothing in the text to indicate that the “others” ere discerning if part of the word given was of God and part of the flesh. Biblically either one was a true prophet, 100% accurate or one was a false prophet. From the record of scripture it seems most likely that the “others” were judging whether the person speaking was in fact from God or our enemy.

When it comes to the accuracy of today’s so-called prophets and their prophetic declarations virtually every charismatic leader will defend the blatant error, lies and unfulfilled statements given out in God’s name as being simply part of the “growing process” we all undergo in our God-given gifts! Just as one develops as a pastor or a Bible teacher even so one develops as God’s prophet. Oh really? Pray tell where is that in the Bible? There is nothing to indicate that the prophets developed from one level of accuracy to another. Daniel was not 5 % accurate as a young man and about 80% as an old man. What nonsense! Yet this explanation is commonly handed out to those who dare question the inaccuracies of today’s plague of prophets.

All of us who have thought that God was speaking to us and directing us in some area of life have had to admit that it was not God after all. I remember before I was married another sister in our congregation “heard from the Lord” that I was supposed to marry her. God had told me nothing about it and I told this deceived sister she was in error. She later went on to marry someone else and would gladly admit today she was not hearing from God. Other couples said they both heard from God to marry and now are divorced, what happened to the “plan of God” (I can assure you His plan never includes divorce).

There is a method by which we ALL can hear from God, but I have run out of space to go into this month. Stay tuned for Part Two! (Below are some examples of the many books out there to mislead the unwary).♦

Copyright © Robert S. Liichow

 





Dead Men Walking

15 01 2010
Truth Matters Newsletters – February  2008  Vol. 13  Issue 2 – Dead Men Walking – By Rev. Robert S. Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

Dead Men Walking

By Rev. Robert S. Liichow

Please forgive the somewhat abbreviated first article and the lateness of this specific newsletter it is all due to my work load at seminary. Since so many of you gave sacrificially for me to attend classes I feel it is my duty to God and our partners to do the best I can in them.

What was I trying to get across in the first article can be boiled down to the following — victory over the world, the flesh and the devil is experienced by those who have “died” to the world, the flesh and devil, i.e. are purposefully living the crucified life.

This type of message is not very popular and it has not been for probably 2,000 years. Certainly you will never hear any televangelists or other popular SINister teach about dying to self for the sake of expanding the kingdom of God. The teaching of the cross is as radical today as when Jesus and the Apostles initially taught it.

The important thing to keep in our minds is that this teaching is not for some people who have risen to some high degree of personal holiness, in fact, from what I read it seems that this teaching of “dying to live” is really spiritual boot camp, sort of Christianity “101” and really when looked at properly it becomes crystal clear why this teaching has to be foundational because almost all our “work” for the kingdom to be of any value has to flow from this basis of the crucified life. So allow me briefly to share with you some of the texts which will be GREAT ones for us all to ponder and mediate on during this Lenten season.

I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. John 12:24-25

The context of this verse is plain, Jesus is speaking to His followers about the need to “die” to ourselves. It is only when we die, i.e. get ourselves off of our hands, that we become free to focus on the needs of our neighbors. As long as we stay focused on our needs, our wants and desires we cannot and will not see the desperate needs of those around us. Regarding Himself Jesus said:

Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” Matt. 20:28

In His comment here Jesus is settling the dispute of who will be the greatest in the Kingdom of God. The greatest one is the one who serves all the others. Jesus came to serve humanity by dying for our sins. We as His disciples serve humanity by picking up our cross and following in Jesus footsteps (see Matt. 10:38) to the place of crucifixion and dying to self. The author of Hebrews tells us to “go to Him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace he bore” (Heb. 13:11).

We know that this death to self took place in the waters of baptism:

For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin–because anyone who has died has been freed form sin. Rom. 6:6-7

It is one thing to remember that one has been baptized, it is quite another to live out that baptismal life consciously. This seems to be how the Apostle Paul lived life — being aware of his death and new life in and by the power of Christ:

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Gal. 2:20

Paul makes his comment in the context of a rebuke to the Galatians who were being misled into thinking they could start their spiritual life out by God’s grace and somehow complete it by their works. Paul calls them “foolish.” Please understand I am not advocating some systems of works or of human will power. Quite the opposite. What the Bible is calling for is: for us as the people of God to wake up to who we really are and by God’s grace live accordingly. The Apostle Paul says in another place—

Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame. 1 Cor. 15:34

He reminds them again in his second letter to them that they are the righteousness of God in Christ and are now ambassadors of reconciliation to the rest of the world (2 Cor. 5:17-19).

I think it is time for many of God’s people to “wake up.” Wake up to the fact that in their flesh dwells no good thing (Rom. 7:18) and we must realize that our flesh cannot be reformed or renewed that is why it must be crucified daily.

We also must wake up to who we are in Christ. I’ve stated this before but I want to say it again and really meditate on this FACT: What God did in our re-birth is vastly more powerful and superior to what Satan accomplished when Adam fell.

If the work of Satan and sin in the fall were more powerful than Jesus work on the cross, then logically Jesus would not have been victorious over the devil. Yet we know He was! He says to His disciples “REJOICE, I have overcome the world” (Jh 16:33). He overcame death, hell and the grave for you and I. He lovingly gives His victory to us if we will but accept it and lean upon the power of His Holy Spirit, our Divine “Helper” who indwells us to grant us grace to grasp hold of what is ours in Christ in the face of all temptation, trails and tests. Let’s work together with the Spirit of Grace and be the overcomers Christ so dearly paid for.

Let us close this Lenten mediation out with a quote from Dr. Francis Pieper:

God who creates faith, also produces sanctification by His infinite power (1 Thess. 5:23-24). But in this work of sanctification, the Christian also plays a part. In conversion man merely experiences the working of God, but in sanctification the Christian plays an active role; he cooperates (synergism of the new man)…In other words: it is the Holy Ghost who produces the activity of the new man; the new man remains the organ of the Holy Ghost. (Christian Dogmatics, Vol. III, p. 14) ♦

Copyright © Robert S. Liichow  

 





The Axis of Evil

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

Discernment Ministries International

The Axis of Evil

By Rev. Robert S. Liichow

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

(KJV)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enemy Number One: The Devil

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enemy Number Two: The World

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enemy Number Three: our Flesh

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“He must increase, but I must decrease.”

John 3:30

 

Copyright © Robert S. Liichow  





Flying High on the Widow’s Mite

10 01 2010
Truth Matters Newsletters – January 2008 Vol. 13 Issue 1 – Flying High on the Widow’s Mite – By Robert S. Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

Flying High on the Widow’s Mite

By Robert S. Liichow

With Senator Grassley looking into a mere six SINisters and their money making machine, I thought it would be good to take a brief look at who is flying high on the donors dime (maybe Senator Grassley can expand the scope of his investigation).

“Dr.” Jesse the “Raging Cajun” Duplantis: A Cessna Citation 500 a mere $1.25 million. It burns approximately 1,700+pounds of fuel per hour (jet fuel costs more than gasoline).

Jerry Savelle: Another Copeland “clone” also fly’s a Cessna Citation 500 {they are the poorer relatives in the WOF cult-club}.

Mark Bishop: A wannabe player with the big boys is also at the starter private jet level of the Cessna Citation 500.

Joyce Meyer: Bombardier Challenger 604 a whopping $4.5 million. The Chalenger burns 1,192 pounds of fuel per hour and it takes 18,144 pounds of jet fuel to fill its tank. Obtained from www.aerospace-technology.com/projects/Challenger604/specs.html

Benny the “Healer” Hinn: Not to be outdone by anyone, Hinn fly’s very high in his Grumann Gulfstream II at the stratospheric cost of $4.5 million. It holds 28,300 pounds of jet fuel and can seat 12 “yes” men or shills. It costs $1,939.28 per hour to operate (not including the cost of the 2 pilots). Information obtained from www.jetsales.com/comp/planes/Irgjetcost.html

“Dr.” Fred Price: He also flys a Gulfstream II (drives a Rolls Royce when on the ground).

Paul & Jan Crouch: TBN has been good to these two hicks — they fly a Bombardier Challenger 604 at the heavenly cost of $16.5 million! 19 toadies can hitch a ride to Maui with Paul and Jan in supersonic style.

“SkyKing” Kenny Copeland: He started off as a co-pilot with the Oral Roberts Evangelical Ministry years ago and now owns several planes. But his daily ride is a Citation X which runs a modest $10 million. When you add Gloria’s Citation X that brings the total to $20 million! Here is a listing of the planes owned by Mr. Copeland and /or his SINistry:

1944 Boeing B75N1 “Stearman” Value: 70,000 to $140,000.

1953 North American T-28B “Trojan“, Value: $59,000 to $325,000.

1976 Beech E-55 “Baron”, Value: $144,000,

1947 Republic RC-3 “Seabee”, Value: One is listed online for $40,000.

1962 Beech H-18 “Twin Beech” * Value: $96,000.

1973 Cessna 421B “Golden Eagle” or “Executive Commuter” Value: $220,000

1975 Cessna 500 “Citation” Value: $850,000.

1998 Cessna 550 “Citation Bravo” Value: $3.4 million

2005 Cessna 750 “Citation X” Value: $17.5 million.

All make and model information is based on Federal Aviation Administration records. The church said that its Beech H-18 is a 1963 model. Sources: Cessna; www.aircraftbluebook.com; FAA: Jane’s Encyclopedia of Aviation; Doug Jeanes of Cavanaugh Flight Museum in Addison; Pete Lane, a retired University of North Texas faculty member; www.nasa.govere

Creflo “Cashflow” Dollar: A Gates Learjet (a small jet only seats 4 passengers) & a Gulfstream-3 which costs $37 million if purchased new.

The cost of owning a plane is only one of the costs involved. Other costs must be factored in, such as the cost of jet fuel, storing your jet in a hanger (unless you are Mr. Copeland who purchased a defunct airbase many years ago), paying the salary of one or two pilots depending on the size of your plane. These pilots have to be available 24/7 due to speaking schedules of their employers. Also airplanes must be maintained on a regular basis by highly skilled mechanics. Owning a private jet is an extremely expensive proposition. The question I have is simply this—do these people need to have their own jet(s)? Are they really being used to further the Gospel, or are they a means to “get out of Dodge” quick and to zip off to a country without an extradition treaty with the USA?

Sadly, all the people cited in this short article teach false doctrine and are misleading multitudes of people. What is equally sad is that those who follow their false teachings actually believe these SINisters have a right to fly anywhere on their dime!

Perhaps they don’t realize that they are paying over $1,000 per hour of flight time just so these charismatic superstars don’t have to associate with the hoi polloi sitting next to them on Delta.

To the best of my knowledge none of these people use their planes for philanthropic reasons. Their planes are used for their own personal needs. The only charismatic minister who purchased a plane for the right reasons was Lester Sumrall (deceased). He bought a Hercules jumbo cargo jet. He used his plane solely for the purpose of taking food and medicine to people in need around the world (Lester also never owned a car, he always drove a leased car) nor did he live in a “mansion.” His sons are running his ministry and continue to use the plane for world missions.

In light of the jets, mansions, luxury cars is it little wonder why Senator Grassley’s Senate Committee is taking a close look at some ways the money they receive as “non-profits” is being spent. It is a shame that the Church has not taken a stance against such opulence within Its own ranks and that God must use the government (sometimes newspapers, ask Jim Bakker) to clean house.

Copyright © Robert S. Liichow

The Gulfstream III is for those at the top of the heap





7 Keys to Improving Your Life Every Day

4 01 2010
Truth Matters Newsletters – November 2007 Vol. 12 Issue 11 – 7 Keys to Improving Your Life Every Day – by Rev. Robert S. Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

7 Keys to Improving Your Life Every Day

by Rev. Robert S. Liichow

When Larry King mentions me as a “critic” of Joel Osteen our web site went down for 2 days due to excessive band-width use which told me that a lot of people were downloading my initial article concerning Joel. Next more negative e-mails berating me for simply pointing out the errors Joel had made in his interview began to flow in. I knew it would only be a matter of time before a Osteenite asked me “well have you even read Pastor Osteen’s book?” I can honestly answer in the affirmative and tell them “yes I have and here is the problem I have with it.”

Joel’s latest book is the largest printing ever published at one time by A Free Press, the publishers of his materials. They’ve printed an initial 3 million copies of his latest book based on how well his former book Your Best Life Now performed.

This book could easily be entitled “The Little Engine that Could” or possibly “Fake It Till You Make It,” and anyone who has been involved with the charismatic movement will be disappointed in the contents because it says absolutely nothing new. The entire premise of the book can be boiled down to the old aphorism “God helps those who help themselves.”

In the DMI archive we have several bookcases filled with titles such as: Super Brain Power: 6 keys to Unlocking Your Hidden Genius; God is My CEO: Following God’s Principles in a Bottom-Line World; Prayer, Power, and Prosperity: Three Keys to a Move of God; Biblical Keys to Financial Prosperity; seven Facts About Prevailing Prayer (John Osteen), You Can Change Your Destiny (another John Osteen)…and the list could go on.

Now just when we thought we might have gotten past the formulaic approach of laws, principles, and rules for spiritual development we are offered another set of 7 keys to self-improvement! Here is Joel’s list: 1). Keep pressing forward. 2) Be positive toward yourself, 3) Develop better relationships, 4). Form better habits 5). Embrace the place where you are 6). Develop your inner life and 7). Stay passionate about life!

Obviously, the book is divided into these 7 sections and we’ll take a quick trip through each (it will save you the price of buying the book)! The first chapter urges the reader to never be content with where they are in life. “He’s a progressive God and He wants every generation to be increasing in happiness, success and significances. (1)

The Apostle Paul said this about Contentment:

I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation. Whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength. Phil. 4:11-13

Paul’s source of contentment was found in Christ Jesus not in any material sources. Whether he had “plenty” or whether he was in need Paul was content because he had the correct focus knowing who was his source of strength.

Where does the Bible ever say that one of God’s purposes is for us to be happy? I’d be willing to grant He does not want us to be depressed or despondent but where does the Scripture teach that God wants each succeeding generation to increase in happiness, success and significance? I’ll give you a hint, the Bible never teaches such things.

In Joel’s reality our only limits are self-imposed. It does not matter if you live in the poorest ghetto in Haiti, or if you are horribly handicapped the only limits to life are those you place upon yourself. “If your thinking is limited, then your life is going to be limited.” (2) If that sounds like the old Norman Vincent Peale “power of positive thinking” you are correct!

At the start of each new day, remind yourself, ‘I am talented. I am creative. I am greatly favored by God. I am equipped. I am well able, I will see my dreams come to pass.’ Declare those statements by faith and before long, you will begin to see them in reality. (3)

Let me just briefly unpack this common thread through the entire book. This is also basic Word of Faith (WOF) cult doctrine “101.” It’s called “calling those things that be not as though they are, i.e. “fake it till you make it.” Hagin, Copeland, Capps, Savelle, Duplantis, Price and pappy Osteen all have taught this same error.

WOF dogma teaches that this world is ruled by spiritual laws and these laws will work for whoever will work them, child of God or child of the devil. Furthermore, the WOF cult teaches that faith is a force that we use to create our own reality. Understand — it is not faith in Jesus, it is faith in a spiritual force we wield and release by our words.

Joel is after all his father’s son, and all he has ever learned about the Bible has come through the lens of a Word of Faith heretic (John Osteen) which explains why his books are nothing more than warmed-over WOF dogma.

How can I say that? Simple! Joel begins with encouraging the readers to think positive thoughts. From here he will go in a few chapters to the next building- block of WOF error…positive confession. Once you have the image of what you want in your mind then you confess “faith-filled” words out of your mouth continually until you change your reality by the power of these faith-filled words. However, before getting to speaking the right words he has to deal with an uncomfortable fact, i.e. why does your life stink now? In Chapter 4 Joel teaches another bizarre WOF concept, that of generational curses. Again this a teaching I heard Marilyn Hickey teach at Robert Tilton’s church over 20 years ago, but Joel is reaching many folks who probably don’t know about generational curses.

This is the false teaching: that some believers problems stem from their family line passing a “curse” through the generations. Joel says” many times, you can look back and see the results of those choices somewhere in your family line.” (4) The proof texts these false teachers use are Ex. 20:5; 34:7 Num. 14:8; Deut. 5:9 and these texts basically say that God will curse the generation that hates Him to the third or fourth generation But let’s consider the rest of the context of these passages.

Notice that the curses are on those who hate God. It is not for those who love God, but make some mistakes in life. One might argue, however, that their father or grandfather might have hated God. This is irrelevant, but brings up the next point. Using a hyper-literalistic interpretation of this passage, if the Lord shows mercy for 1000’s of generations on the fathers who loved God, then all that would be necessary for us to be in the “mercy” rather than “cursed” category is to find one relative in the past thousand or so generations that loved and obeyed the Lord. Is it not probable that we have at least one distant relative in the last 1000 generations who loved the Lord and kept His commandments? The statistical probability is that we most certainly do. And if we do, then we are part of the 1000 generations the Lord promised to show mercy to, not curse. This notion is pure WOF heresy which Joel follows up by teaching in the next chapter on “Generational Blessing.” Joel says that we are to think of our good works in this fashion.

Think of it like this: Each of us has a spiritual bank account. By the way we live, we’re either storing up equity or storing up iniquity. Equity would be anything good: our integrity, our determination, our godliness. That’s storing up blessings…You have more of God’s favor, more of His blessing because of what they have done. (5)

Its almost like a Roman Catholic belief (Joel does not know that of course) of the storing up of meritorious favor by the saints that can be drawn upon by those on earth! If you come from godly parents and grandparents then they have been putting spiritual ducats into the family account, or as Oral Roberts might say “they’ve sown seeds and you’re reaping the harvest.” My father was a godly man but I doubt I can tap into some heavenly bank account and draw from his good work! Naturally Joel offers no contextual biblical proof for such a doctrine, but who cares, right? It sounds good and who doesn’t want a spiritual piggybank to draw upon?

In part two of the book Joel, having liberated the reader from negative self-talk marches on to encourage them to stop listening to accusing voices (negative words spoken to the reader). He says that it is imperative that you “learn to feel good about yourself.” (6) Anytime a criticism comes to you (or from your conscience) you are to cast it down immediately!

Don’t make the mistake of dwelling on that rubbish, not for a moment. Sometimes when I walk off the platform having spoken at Lakewood and around the world by means of television, the first thought that comes to my mind is, Joel that message just wasn’t good today. Nobody got anything out of that. You practically put them to sleep. I learned to shake that off. I turn it around and say, ‘No I believe it was good! I did my best…I thought it was good. (7)

Brothers and sisters one of the ways we grow is by receiving correction, by useful criticism. When we reject rebuke and correction then our spiritual growth is stunted. Proverbs clearly says:

Since they would not accept my advice and spurned my rebuke, they will eat the fruit of their ways and be filled with the fruit of their schemes. Prov. 1:30

He who listens to a life-giving rebuke will be at home among the wise. Prov. 15:31

A rebuke impresses a man of discernment more than a hundred lashes a fool. Prov. 17:10

Flog a mocker, and the simple will learn prudence; rebuke a discerning man, and he will gain knowledge. Prov. 19:25

Personally I want someone I respect and trust to tell me the truth when I have finished teaching or preaching. Maybe my message fell way short of the mark. Maybe I didn’t properly distinguish between Law & Gospel or took certain passages out of context. If I immediately reject any “negative” input then I will not grow and worse yet may lead those who hear farther from Jesus and not closer to Him. Joel’s guidance in this chapter is simply “if it seems remotely negative don’t listen to it!”

Chapter 8  entitled “Learning to Like Yourself” is more nauseating pabulum. Joel does not seem to get a fundamental message in the New Testament — the problem is not that people do not love themselves or like themselves, just the opposite, we love ourselves far too much!

Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others. 1 Cor. 10:24

Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Phil 2:4

And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased. Heb. 13:16

All of this psycho-babble about people not loving themselves is recent nonsense which the Bible does not even address…because 99.9% of humanity has no problem loving numero uno.

Another one of Joel‘s glaring theological inadequacies is his lack of any real sense of our sinful fallen nature.

Shake off guilt, condemnation, inadequacies, and a sense that you can’t measure up, and start feeling good about who you are. ‘Well Joel, I don’t know if I believe that,’ a dear, well-meaning man told me. ‘We’re just poor old sinners.’ No, we used to be poor old sinners, but when we came to Christ, He washed away our sins. He made us new creatures. Now, we are no longer poor old sinners. (8)

This too is a WOF cult and general charismatic extremist point of view. They teach that we were sinners prior to salvation. Now in Christ we are the righteousness of God (2 Cor. 5:21) and no longer sinners. They have no concept of the reality of being simil Justus et peccator which means we are simultaneously justified, and yet sinners. Both conditions are always true of us. We will fight against sinful inclinations our entire lives and by the means of grace God will be working in us progressive sanctification in this life. Joel is dangerously misleading his readers to encourage them to think they are no longer sinful.

Chapter 9 – is classic WOF/Positive Confession dogma and Joel has very subtly brought the reader from a place of thinking positive thoughts to now confessing these thoughts. What he says in this chapter is regularly proclaimed in any Ken Copeland, Creflo Dollar, Joyce Meyer, Jesse Duplantis or Fred Price meeting.

As long as we have that poor self-image, we’re not going to experience God’s best. You will never rise above the image that you have of yourself. (9)

He restates the problem of humanity as he sees it but he fails to recognize one very salient point — God blesses us APART from what we do virtually all of the time! Grace, is the undeserved gift from God. We experienced God’s best (which by the way, Joel, is salvation by JESUS CHRIST alone) when we were haters of God.

For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Rom. 5:10

Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation — if you continue in your faith, Col. 1:21-23a

In Joel’s warped view how are we supposed to overcome this self-image problem in order to experience God’s best? Simple! We speak positive words about ourselves!

One of the best ways that we can improve our self-image is with our words. Words are like seeds. They have creative power. Every day, we should make positive declarations over our lives. We should say things such as, ‘I am blessed. I am prosperous. I am healthy. I am talented. I am creative. I am wise.’ When we do that, we are building up our self-image. As those words permeate your heart and mind, and especially your subconscious mind, eventually they will begin to change that way you see yourself. (10)

Our words do not have creative power. We cannot change reality by what we say. To believe such things is simply occultism and not Christianity. I’ve buried folks who died from AIDS confessing they were totally healed by the stripes of Jesus.

Positively or negatively, creative power resides in your words because you believe your words more than you believe anybody else’s. (11)

The WOF/extremist universe words are the most powerful things in the universe. They teach that God Himself created the universe not out of “nothing” (ex nihilo) but out of words that contained the force of faith to bring to pass whatever He said. They teach that since we are in His image we too have been given this same power. Negative words will produce bad results in our lives, they carry a sort of negative-faith. Positive words carry the force of faith in a fruitful direction creating whatever the wizard wielding the magic wand desires.

The sad thing is that Joel probably has not thought it through enough to realize what bondage such a belief system puts people under. If Joel is correct, then humanity is in the condition it is in simply because of not speaking the right words necessary to create a better life. All of his congregation’s problems fall squarely on their shoulders. Whatever their situation it is their fault.  The only way out is to begin to confess positive “faith-filled” words until your situation changes, which may take years…Remember just a few negative statements can dig up years of positive confessions and then the poor soul, like Sisyphus, is back at the beginning. What a horrific weight to place on the shoulders of God’s people.

No matter how impossible something looks, no matter how you feel, start boldly declaring, ‘I am strong in the Lord. I can do all things through Christ. I am well able to fulfill my destiny. Call in what God has promised you…Don’t merely use your words to describe your situation; use your words to change your situation….With our words, we can prophesy our own future. (12)

Notice God active in any of this? Who is the agent of change? Who determines your situation? Who is in control of your future?  Obviously, you are! God set these so-called spiritual “laws” in place and now we eat the good or bitter fruit from them apart from God.

I think you can see why Joel’s book is so immensely popular. It is all about self and works righteousness. Which all people love (yes even Christians). People love spiritual legalism in all its varied forms and dislike the orthodox biblical view of sola Christus, by Christ alone and looking to Him to do what we cannot do. That is too easy, we want to know “where’s my part in the play?” The point is this — salvation and all its benefits are monergistic, which means that God did all the work and we passively receive what He has done on our behalf. We add nothing to our salvation but thanksgiving to God for His great grace and mercy which He richly pours out on us through the sacrifice of His Son our Lord Jesus Christ.

The genius behind Joel’s writing is that he has encapsulated the basic tenets of WOF heresy into a format which does not come across as either charismatic in nature nor as something that has been taught by WOF heretics for over fifty years now. He has “spun” old false doctrines a new set of “Dr. Phil” clothing and is marketing it as a self-help book. The problem is that people will not genuinely be helped, in fact, many may end up in some serious bondage due to his lightweight version leading some readers to seek heavier teachings on the same concepts.

In closing, I will leave you with some simple biblical texts that will show you how to truly become a better you.

And anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. Matt. 10:38,39

Then he said to them all; “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self? Luke 9:23-25

I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. John 12:24-25

You want to be a “better you” then take up your cross, follow Jesus (where) to Calvary and DIE to yourself. This dying (reckoning ourselves dead Rom. 6:11) is a daily process/struggle (we Lutherans like to urge one another to “remember your baptism”) that is how we become “better people” we become less SELF-INVOLVED and thus with ourselves off our hands we are freed up to love God and our neighbor more perfectly Jesus said seek first the Kingdom of God and its righteousness and ALL the things the Gentiles seek after will be added to you (Matt. 6:33), something Joel does not mention. Instead of seeking the sphere of God’s rule he has his readers trying to conjure up a better self-image instead of one buried in the waters of baptism. He has people confessing how good they are as opposed to saying “God have mercy on me a poor miserable sinner.” He inflates human pride by a system of works-righteousness to our account. Frankly, Joel is fundamentally wrong regarding the major premises of each of his chapters. His biblical/doctrinal ignorance is truly appalling and I sincerely urge all of us to pray for him (and I will be writing and sending him a registered letter soon, I’ll let you know if he responds) and more importantly the 100,000’s of people who watch him on television and buy his books. Lord have mercy upon us! ♦

Copyright © Robert S. Liichow

End Notes

1. Osteen Joel, Become a Better You New York: A Free Press, 2007, p. 3

 2. Ibid. p.21

3. Ibid pp. 22 -22

4. Ibid. p. 49

5. Ibid. pp.56,66

6. Ibid. p. 85

7. Ibid. p.86

8. Ibid. pp. 101-102

9. Ibid p. 109

10. Ibid pp. 109-110 underlining and bolding added for emphasis.

11. Ibid. p. 11

12. Ibid pp. 113-114 underlining and bolding added.

Anyone else notice a “theme”? 7 steps to living at your full potential & now 7 keys to improving your life every day. Is it possible that Joel is using a ghost writer to pen these novels? If I was already achieving my full potential why should I read his latest book? It simply does not make sense to me?

 





A Smile, A Chair, and A Prayer For You at Lakewood

2 01 2010
Truth Matters Newsletters – November 2007 Vol. 12 Issue 11 – A Smile, A Chair, and A Prayer For You at Lakewood Joel & Victoria Osteen – On Larry King Live 10-16-07 – By Rev. Bob Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

A Smile, A Chair, and A Prayer For You at Lakewood

Joel & Victoria Osteen – On Larry King Live 10-16-07

By Rev. Bob Liichow

 Wednesday evening I received a phone call from some good friends (hi Doug & Sherry) telling me that Larry King had quoted me on his program in talking to Joel & Victoria Osteen. Your humble heresy-hunter got a “global” mention! Our friends sent me a video of the program which I watched with great interest.

Frankly, I was hoping that Joel would do a better job this time in exalting our Lord Jesus Christ but again I was sadly disappointed. In the entire interview Joel mentioned Jesus exactly twice. Her is one of the two times he does mention Jesus:

KING: How do you feel about Mitt Romney and being a Mormon? Would that affect whether you vote for him or not?

J. OSTEEN: Well, you know what? I look at people, their character, their values, what they stand for. And I know only Mitt from watching him on your program and reading a couple of articles about him. And I don’t think that that would affect me. I’ve heard him say that he believes Jesus is his savior, just like I do. I’ve studied it deeply, and maybe people don’t agree with me, but I like to look at a person’s values and what they stand for. (1)

I almost fell out of my chair when Joel said that Romney believes that Jesus is his savior “just like I do.” Joel obviously does not even know the rudimentary facts concerning the Mormon cult. If he did then he would have known that Romney’s Jesus is really the spirit brother of Lucifer and that to the Mormons Jesus did not secure redemption for anyone per se. If Joel had some basic theological training he would probably know that Mormons consider themselves the only true Church. I am not sure what Joel is referring to when he says “I’ve studied it deeply” but it surely is not the beliefs of Mormonism.

This was the perfect time for Osteen to say something powerful to Larry about the biblical Jesus. He could have said “well Larry, the Mormon version of Jesus is not the biblical view. Mr. Romney and I do not believe in the same Jesus.” That would have no doubt piqued King’s interest and hopefully Joel could have then shared the biblical Jesus as Savior of sinners with Larry.

Osteen’s congregation has grown since I initially wrote about his first appearance on Larry King Live. At that time Lakewood Church was around 30,000 people in attendance, now it is close to 50,000 people each Sunday. The “sanctuary” holds 16,000 people and they hold 3 services on Sunday, including a fourth one in Spanish. One would imagine that with all those people coming out to listen to Joel preach that he would be continually striving to improve his biblical knowledge so he could adequately feed the souls of the hungry.

KING: Well, you’ve obviously affected a lot of people. The lack of formal biblical study, you did a brief stint at Oral Roberts University, right?

J. OSTEEN: Yes, sir.

KING: All right, a critic — this quote to — from Reverend Robert Liichow: “Joel Osteen has absolutely no biblical training or experience to be a pastor. Would you allow a surgeon to operate on you because he felt that he should be called a surgeon?”

J. OSTEEN: Well, I would think two things, Larry. One, I spent — I grew up in a preacher’s home. I spent 17 years working with my father. The second thing is the disciples that Jesus chose — his main 12 — one was a fisherman, a tax collector. They didn’t have any formal training, as well. The bible says that God chooses people that, you know, are not the most educated or the smartest, to confound other people. So I don’t know, It’s interesting to me that…

KING: So you are not reverend?

J. OSTEEN: Well, I am reverend. I am reverend. You don’t have to necessarily be — go into seminary to be a reverend. But I am — I’m a reverend from our church. But, I am.

KING: OK. No crosses on display at your church.

J. OSTEEN: Yes….

KING: The only church that I know — the Mormons don’t display crosses. (2)

Joel looked like a deer in headlights when Larry mentioned my name to him, he honestly looked like he was going to cry (I think my comments about his lack of education really bothers Joel—Goood!).

It is true that Joel did attend O.R.U., but what he studied was communications and not theology. In my previous article I made the case that it is not enough to be “called” to serve as a pastor. One may be called to a vocation of a doctor or architect, but that person has to develop that calling by gaining the required knowledge to fulfill their vocation.

How does Joel respond to my challenge? He gives two reasons why he believes he does not need any theological education. First, he grew up in the household of a famous charismatic extremist, John Osteen. He spent 17 years working with his father behind the scenes. If Joel’s father had been an airplane pilot are we to assume that Joel would know how to fly a jet? I guess this is theological education b osmosis! What is sad is because Joel does not have any formal biblical education he does not even know that much of what his father taught was false doctrine and in places rank heresy. All of Joel’s life he listened to spiritual poison, I know what I am saying since I come from the same background as his father and was schooled in and later taught the same garbage that John Osteen taught. Unfortunately, the doctrines he did learn from being around his dadf are aberrant.

His next defense is the tired old excuse of pointing to Jesus’ disciples and using them as examples of men without formal training. I beg to differ most strenuously with this type of thinking. Let’s consider the facts: (1) the 12 were handpicked by Jesus. Jesus did not just “call” these 12, they left everything and followed Jesus. (2) These men received hands on training from God the Son in person. From sun-up till they went to sleep, seven days a week (no Christmas or Easter break back then) these men lived with Jesus and were taught by Him. There is no seminary education that can compare with what the original disciples learned firsthand.

When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.   Acts 4:13

The religious leaders scoffed at Peter and John because they were not from the priestly tribe but they did take not that they had been with Jesus who was accepted as a peripatetic rabbi, i.e. a rabbi who taught as He walked along life’s way. Joel is correct to say that when Jesus initially chose the 12 they did not have formal training but when He breathed the Holy Spirit upon them (see John 20:22) three and a half years later they had the best theological training ever given to mankind!

Lastly Joel tries to make a case for biblical ignorance by saying “hey God chooses us ignorant folk to confound the educated one!” {my paraphrase}. Actually what the Bible says is:

Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. 1 Cor. 1:26

Paul is telling the Corinthians to think of what they were when God called them. According to the world’s standards they were nothing, yet it is the glory of God to take “nothing” and make something wonderful out of it.

Instead, God has chosen from the world those who seem foolish, weak, and helpless so that he might put to shame the wise and powerful by showing how temporary and insignificant to salvation their achievements are. In his grace he has showered his mercy on them and made them strong and wise in Christ. (3)

In the words of one of Joel’s father’s good friends, Kenneth Copeland “that dog won’t hunt.” Joel’s excuses are just that excuses. Here is a man worth millions of dollars, who is well paid by his “church” and espouses a belief in continual improvement…yet personally refuses to gain any further training for his vocation, it boggles my mind! Joel could easily afford a private personal tutor to educate him in the basics of theology, hermeneutics, Church history, biblical Greek, etc…Yet for some reason he has not yet done so. I know Joel must have read the following text:

Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.   James 3:1

Doesn’t Joel realize that when he stands before 46,000 people in Houston and untold thousands more through television that his every word is being measured by a holy God? That one day he will have to give an account of what he has said (see Matt 12:36). How can Joel lead people into a biblical knowledge of Christ Jesus if he himself does not have such knowledge? The answer is — he cannot do so. When the blind lead the blind what happens? They all end up in the ditch of doctrinal ignorance and bondage (see Matt. 15:14).

In closing I repeat, I do not think that Joel is an “evil” person. I believe he is sincere, but like the Jews of old, his zeal is without knowledge (see Rom. 10:2) and the end result, as well intentioned as it might be, is not a good one. People must build their lives on solid biblical doctrine and not sand (see Matt. 7:24-27) in order to survive the storms of life which our enemy throws at us all.

I pray for him and I am sure he would make a fine neighbor {if I lived in a secured gated community of the ultra-wealthy as he & his family do}. Currently he is one of the most visible “preachers” in the world and he is in a position to do great good for the Kingdom of God. Possibly Satan has placed him in his exalted status in order to drag him down later and bring shame to the name of our Lord. Let us all pray for Joel that he will see the seriousness of being a pastor and that in seeing this, he will obtain a sound biblical base upon which to minister to God’s people.    Selah.

Copyright © Robert S. Liichow

End Notes

1. CNN LARRY KING LIVE Interview with Joel and Victoria Osteen Aired – October 16,2007 – 21:00 CNN.com – Transcripts

2. Ibid. Underlining added for emphasis.

3. Obtained from the NIV Bible Commentary on the Zondervan Reference CD Rom. Underlining added.





Where’s the Love Ladies – (and the Discernment)

30 12 2009
Truth Matters Newsletters – October 2007 – Vol. 12 – Issue 10 – Where’s the Love Ladies (and the Discernment?) By Rev. Bob Liuchow & Jackie Alnor

Discernment Ministries International

Where’s the Love Ladies (and the Discernment?)

By Rev. Bob Liichow & Jackie Alnor

As you probably know by now both Paula White & Juanita Bynum have both trotted off to the divorce court. Divorce is always troubling to me especially in the marriage of Christians. One would image that since we’ve been forgiven in like manner what excuse can there be to proceed with divorce? After all the love of God has been shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5) and this love comes directly from God and we know its character and the fruit of it in our lives.

Love is patient love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.  1 Cor. 13:4-8

Robert Tilton personally taught me (and others) that the “God” kind of faith Only produces when we walk in love…But then Mr. Tilton is currently in marriage number 3, so where’s the love Bobby? How’s that God kind of faith working for you these days I wonder?

The following televangelists have all gone through divorce: Bob Tilton, Richard Roberts, John Hagee, Hal Lindsey, Jim and Tammy Bakker, Joyce Meyer, Charles Stanley, Bishop Noel Jones, Bishop Clarence McClendon, and Robert Schuller. Now we can add to this sad list Paula & Randy White along with the “prophetess” Juanita Bynum.

Randy and Paula just decided to “go their separate” ways and got divorced for purely selfish reasons, nothing even remotely biblical. Will this effect their impact and future in ministry? If history has taught us anything the answer is “no” it will not effect them in the long run. What is even more curious to me is the case of Juanita Bynum (who we were exposed to in Detroit long before she became a superstar). She calls herself a “prophetess” of the Lord and says she hears from God for the Church and even the nations! If this is true then why didn’t she hear God tell her not to marry “Bishop” Weeks because he was a wife-beater? If she cannot obtain direction from God for her own life, then how can she expect anyone to believe her when she spews forth the word of the Lord to guide other peoples lives?

The following is an excellent article written by a fellow truth-teller and friend, sister Jackie Alnor. If you have a computer you can visit her website at http://www.apostasyalert.org

Jezebel & the Frog Prince – by Jackie Alnor

“Jezebel & the Frog Prince” – sounds like an Aesop’s fairy tale where the loving couple lives happily ever after. But not in the corrupt kingdom of televangelism where lowly church people are transformed into famous starlets whose role models are the rich and famous seen on the primary channels of the boob tube. The big difference between the secular and the religious celebrities are that the secular ones got to the top because of their talent and the televangelists rose to fame on the backs of the poor widows’ mites. ‘

This sad episode began in 2003 when the Trinity Broadcasting Network aired the wedding of Bishop Thomas Weeks to “prophetess” Juanita Bynum. The net cost for the event exceeded one million dollars and was one ugly display of conspicuous consumption with a big load of bad taste thrown in. Newsweek reported in an article called “Evangelist with a Big Stick”.

“The ceremony featured a wedding party of 80, a gown with a bodice covered in crystals and a 7.76-carat diamond ring…Bynum had waited all her life to have a fairy-tale wedding, she says. ‘It started out with a $500,000 budget, and then it just started growing like the blob,’ she says, adding, ‘I didn’t think it robbery to celebrate my day.’ “

The fairy tale ended just four years later in an Atlanta hotel parking lot in a scuffle in which the fairy tale prince Weeks went ballistic all over his Jezebel bride. Charisma Magazine’s Editor Lee Grady expressed the outrage so many Christians felt:

“Bishop Thomas Weeks III was arrested after being accused of kicking, choking and hitting his wife, prominent preacher Juanita Bynum, in a hotel paring lot in Atlanta on Aug. 22. We did not need another embarrassing display of religious hypocrisy played out in the national media. The incident gave the whole church a black eye and bruised our reputation. When I first heard that Weeks excused his actions (the devil made him do it, he claims) and that his congregation cheered his return to the pulpit (after he fled from police and then posted $40,000 bail), I was riled. What was this guy thinking?”

After the incident, Bishop Weeks gave a statement to the media via his attorney that seemed to imply that he isn’t the only one in the marriage that uses physical violence. The statement read on Fox News Atlanta, stated that they agree with Bynum that “any violence is a very important social issue.” The female lawyer completed the statement saying emphatically, “In fact, any violence in a relationship is an important social issue!”

Now evidence has come forth that demonstrates Bynum’s violent temper. Grady’s editorial called Juanita Bynum on her bad behavior leading up to the incident:

“I’m all for rousing sermons, but what Bynum often offers her audiences is downright mean. Eleven days before the Atlanta incident, Bynum told women at a large conference that they needed to learn to become harsh. Shocking clips of her comments were then posted on YouTube. Bynum told of how she corrected an unnamed assistant for being too nice when carrying out her orders. ‘I’m trying to teach you to be a bulldog!’ she declared with gritted teeth and a hateful expression.”

“When women did not shout loud enough after her comments, Bynum threatened them too ‘If somebody don’t start praising God right here, I’m gonna have to hit somebody with this microphone,’ she said. She also implied that women who treat others with polite restraint are ‘too suburb’ and need to learn the street-wise tactics of the ghetto.”

“Is this the new face of domestic violence? An angry woman preacher who threatens to hit people? A ‘bulldog’ who barks orders and teats subordinates rudely? Please.”

Another clip from YouTube shows Bynum laughing about how she handles men who give her trouble – she just threatens violence upon them. In this clip, she talks about threatening her man with a brick while Bishop Weeks looks on chuckling.

TBN: An Enabler of Evil –

Days after Bynum announced that she had filed for divorce from her second husband, the Trinity Broadcasting Network gave her a platform — the entire Praise the Lord program on September 4th – for her to announce that she was not going to lose a day doing her own brand of “ministry.” the TBN announcer, introduced her as “Prophetess Juanita Bynum,” a blind endorsement of her self-appointed spiritual greatness. The show opened with the most shameful display of celebrity idolatry imaginable, as Bynum pranced around shouting while an organ played a dramatic refrain in the background. As is TBN’s custom, when one of their own on-air celebrities gets bad publicity – due to their own outrageous behavior — TBN gives them a quick platform on the airwaves to do their damage control. So it has been this past week with Jezebels Paula White and Juanita Bynum.

Paul White, like Bynum, after announcing divorce plans from her second husband, Randy White, showed up on TBN’s Praise program hosted by singer Carmen. She too announced that she was going to just keep on going as if nothing was wrong as she makes money rubbing elbows with the likes of Donald Trump. Both women have followed in the steps of Tammy Faye Bakker Messner whose love affair with the television camera was apparent from the fact that she would agree to be on any TV program, no matter how undignified it made her look.

These women flaunt their carnal desires for wealth and success in the most nauseous manner imaginable and TBN lifts them up to the world as role models of Christian behavior. Grady pointed out that “the American church is hijacked by carnality” by these women.

In the bulldog video on YouTube referred to above, it opens with Juanita Bynum screaming out at the top of her lungs: “When I get out of this conference this year, I’m going to possess my place in the world, not in the church!” Bynum had already told Fox News of her plans to trade in her ministry to be a secular spokesperson for domestic abuse. She said she would begin her new crusade the following weekend at a campaign party for Illinois Sentor Barack Obama. She said the 2,000-person affair will be held at TV talk show host Oprah Winfrey’s home in California. Bynum’s followers have often called her a “Christian” version of Oprah. Apparently, she is quite comfortable with the African-American rich and famous. So what if Obama supports partial-birth abortion and Oprah is an open new ager. Bynum has shown her true colors –what matters to her is not spiritual truth or faithfulness to God, but her own success and wealth. The most despicable example of this fact can be seen on Bynum’s own website in a video announcement of her greatness.

The Tribute to Bynum begins with her dancing around in a variety of robes and holy attire. The announcer’s voice is dubbed over her antics saying:

“In every generation God raises up a revolutionary, a chief commander, a force who’s not afraid to cry aloud and spare not on behalf of his people [sound of a trumpet blast]. We call her ‘the prophetess to the nations’, whose very presence invokes a tangible anointing, fills stadiums, and changes lives. With transparency and brokenness, she ushers people into the presence and glory of God. Prophetess Juanita Bynum is an awesome teacher who delivers God’s word in season with brokenness, freshness, and authority. Juanita Bynum Ministries is world renown and has been marked with signs and wonders since its inception. From the war sheets to the threshing floor, the power of God has been unquestionable on Juanita Bynum’s life and ministry…”

The announcer highlights her attributes (comments in parenthesis are my observations):

  • Best-selling author (thanks to Charisma Publishers and TBN)
  • Popular television personality (courtesy of Jan Crouch)
  • Ambassador to world leaders (thanks to T.D. Jakes)
  • National recording artist (glory to her role models Aretha Franklin & Donna Summer)
  • Executive producer, playwright, and “powerful actress” (by way of idolatrous church members)

Announcer: “Though she has crossed denomination lines, is respected as a spiritual leader in this generation and as one of the most admired African-American women of today, still the totality of Juanita Bynum has yet to be revealed!”

  • Upcoming ventures include:
  • New magazine – Ethme
  • Her own reality show
  • Opening of the Country Spa
  • Mount Olive line of candles & tea
  • Her own make-up line also called Ethme

Then the final rallying cry:

“From the preacher, teacher, ambassador, entrepreneurial mastermind herself – Juanita Bynum!”

The shameful display of self-promotion and her calling herself a “prophetess” is what makes it biblical to refer to her as “Jezebel.” Every Christian in America should write a heartfelt letter to Paul Crouch Jr. at TBN rebuking him for allowing such wickedness to be displayed on the public airwaves when he has the power to stop it. This fairy tale of Jezebel and the Frog Prince puts all of Christianity up for ridicule — what an unhappy ending for all of Christendom. The enablers are just as guilty as the perpetrators in bringing the Gospel of Jesus Christ to public scorn.

“Nevertheless I have a few things against you, because you allow that women Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and seduce My servants to commit sexual immorality and eat things sacrificed to idols.” (Rev. 2:20)

Obtained from : http://www.apostasyalert.org/REFLECTIONS/jezebel.htm on Sept 26, 2007

_____________________________________

Folks I understand that in extreme cases divorce is the only way out for some couples, but I believe that is the exception and not the rule. Today in the Church the rate of divorce is a little higher than in the world and this simply should not be. The majority of divorces are due to selfishness, pride, and unforgiveness.

Certainly it is not the unforgivable sin and I am not judging anyone who has been divorced. I do know this, God hates divorce (Mal. 2:16) and I pray for all Christian marriages that they by God’s grace withstand the pressures of the world which seek to split up couples and families to the greater detriment of society. ♦

Copyright © Robert S. Liichow

 





THE SUFFICIENCY OF SCRIPTURE

28 12 2009
Truth Matters Newsletters – October  2007   Vol. 12 Issue 10 – THE SUFFICIENCY OF SCRIPTURE – Rev. Robert S. Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

THE SUFFICIENCY OF SCRIPTURE

By Rev. Robert S. Liichow

As we studied last month all of the aberrant practices and false doctrine stem from an incorrect interpretation of the Scriptures. In fact, all errors in “Bible” based cults can be traced back to using a faulty hermeneutical system. Every Christian should understand and apply some basic hermeneutical principles when they study their Bible. Unfortunately most pastors do not equip their people with the skills necessary to become good Bereans. Sadly, many pastors across America have little or no theological training and thus they lack any real understanding of how to correctly teach the Bible of to their congregations (Joel Osteen, Creflo Dollar are just two examples) and we end up with a case of the blind leading the blind.

Apart from incorrect biblical interpretations with all its attending problems there is another difficulty plaguing God’s people and that is the widespread practice of accepting personal spiritual experiences as authoritative. Millions of professing Christians readily accept the subjective “revelations” of various leaders, or their own private experiences as being as valid as the written Word of God.

The Word of God is seen as not being the only guide for many Christians. It is not viewed as complete and totally sufficient when it comes to faith and practice. Many people are augmenting the Bible with extra-biblical data that is proclaimed as “new” revelations from the Holy Spirit through a host of roving self-proclaimed Apostles, Prophets and revivalists. Admittedly this is not a new problem; in fact the Apostle Paul spoke of people who were misplacing their faith in alleged mystical experience:

Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not see, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind. And not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God. Col. 2:18,19

It seems that people have a propensity to be drawn away from the objective truth of God’s Word into their own fallen subjective experiences.

 Today we see this enthusiasm for experience over God’s Word vividly in the Charismatic movement. For example the recently departed Kenneth E. Hagin built a great portion of his SINistry on his alleged face-to-face encounters with our risen Lord. Many of these he wrote about in great detail in his book I believe In Visions.

 

Another widely followed heretic, Jesse Duplantis expanded his influence tremendously after publishing his farcical tale about going to heaven in his book Heaven Close Encounters of the God Kind. Jesse regales his readers with not only a very detailed account of “heaven” but also shares about his visible experiences with angels, he and his car being teleported across the state of Louisiana and other bizarre experiences.

Mary K. Baxter wrote a book which plunged her into charismatic fame & fortune about her being taken to hell on forty (40!) consecutive evenings allegedly by Jesus Christ. The Divine Revelation of Hell has been reprinted several times and in over ten languages. The book is filled with graphic details of what awaits the damned soul and Baxter claims thousands of people have come to faith in Christ due to her book! If that was not enough she went on to write another spurious tome entitled The Divine Revelation of Heaven and then another book called The Divine Revelation of Glory.

Discernment Ministries International was among the first Apologetic ministry to expose the nonsense in Cho Thomas’ book Heaven Is So Real about her rapturous transport to heaven. Thomas reveals to us that there is death in heaven when Jesus takes her fishing and kills the fish and cooks it for her.

Every one of these books (and there are many more I could mention) has sold well over 100,000 copies each, and all of them are printed in foreign languages for wider consumption by the sign-seeking crowd (don’t forget there are videos, DVD’s, and cassettes of these accounts by authors for sale too). The authors go all over the world sharing their experiences with untold numbers of people.

These examples demonstrate my concern that people are leaving the sufficiency of the Scriptures to listen to someone’s latest experience. I can tell you that DMI receives a great deal of vitriolic email from devotees of these deluded heretics. Some of the gentler complainers say things like “don’t you believe God can take someone to heaven? Look at the Apostle Paul for example!”  Yes, let’s consider Paul for a moment:

I knew a man in Christ about fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven. And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter. 2 Cor. 12:3-4

Virtually all commentators agree that Paul is writing about an experience he had being caught up to heaven. What is interesting about his account is that he does not share any of what he saw or heard.  Why not?  Today when someone says they were taken to heaven they create an entire “ministry” out of their experience. Paul did not relate any of his experience precisely because it was just that…his own “experience” and as such would not benefit others.

Here is what the NIV Commentary says about this part of Paul’s life:

What Paul head (and saw?), human words were inadequate to relate (v.4b). Furthermore, he was not permitted to try to share the content of the revelation, perhaps because it had been designed for him alone, to fortify him for future service and sufferings (Ac 9:16; Ro 8:18). Glimpses the NT does give of the coming glory are intended to strengthen faith and promote holiness (cf. 2 Pe 3:10-14;p 1Jn 3:2-3) not satisfy curiosity.

Nothing that Hagin, Duplantis, Cho or Baxter wrote about strengthens faith nor does it promote true holiness. What all those books do is to point to the human authors and imply that they are special vessels chosen for these last days to prepare the Church for the return of Christ. Nothing in their mythological writings do anything to encourage their readers to get into the Holy Bible and let God speak to them via its inerrant pages.

As I stated earlier this phenomenon of people promoting doctrines and practices that are based on their personal experiences is nothing new. During the Evangelical Reformation led by Martin Luther he constantly had arguments with various sects of what he termed “enthusiasts.”

Enthusiasm clings to Adam and his children from the beginning to the end of the world –fed and spread among them as poison by the old dragon. It is the source, power, and might of all the heresies, even that of the papacy and of Mohammed. Therefore, we should and must insist that God does not want to deal with us human beings, except by means of his external word and sacrament. Everything that boasts of being from the Spirit apart from such a word and sacrament is of the devil. (1)

The enthusiasts then as today looked within to feel something or to attempt to hear God speak to them directly and personally apart form the Holy Bible. This is exactly what is taking place on a massive scale within the charismatic movement. I’ve been involved in many meetings where the “Spirit” began to move in a mighty way so much so that the Word of God was never preached. These meetings were declared to be of the highest order! Various people “prophesied” the so-called word of the Lord, others were slain in the spirit, some danced in the aisles, others just sat and watched the show. 

One well accepted restored-prophet, Bill Hamon carries with him a 5 inch 3 ring binder filled with 100’s of “personal” prophecies that have been uttered over his life for the last 40 years. Obviously he takes these extemporaneous words to be true or why collect & carry them?

What does the Bible say?

In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. Hebrews 1:1-3

Yes God did speak through the prophets in the past. Yes God spoke in various ways, by dreams, visions and at times angels or through Theophanous. However, in these last days God has spoken to us through His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. Peter knew of his impending death (2 Peter 1:13-15) so what he said was vitally important to him as a pastor. He reminds his readers that he was with Christ on the Mount of Transfiguration and he actually heard the voice of God speak. Yet what does he then tell the Church?

We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. 2 Peter 1:19-21

Even though Peter was there in person to hear God’s voice he goes on to tell the Church that they have a more sure word of prophecy (the written Word) and they would do well to take heed to It a a light that shines in a dark place. Peter does not preach his experience but points to the Word of God and warns them to take heed of the Word.

Why this emphasis Peter, what is the big deal?

But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them-bringing swift destruction on themselves Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping. 2 Peter 2:1-3

The problem today is that the “more sure word” is now deemed passé and there is a desire to seek what is termed “present day truth” (see 2 Peter 1:12) by the charismatic extremists. This is alleged truth that is arrived at through mystical or metaphysical means, i.e. subjective belief as opposed to the objective inerrant truth set out in the Bible.

One very popular charismatic heretic, Tommy Tenney, wrote a hugely popular book entitled The God Chasers. Tenney denigrates the written Word of God and expounds that people need to seek a direct encounter with God. Here are some of his comments regarding the Bible:

We just keep going through the motions, lighting the lamps and shuffling from dusty room to dusty room as God was still speaking to us. (2)

There’s no need for me to preach [the Word] if God shows up in His glory. (3)

They [the early disciples] walked and talked with Him in such a rich level of intimacy that it wasn’t necessary for them to pour over dusty love letters that were written long ago. (4)

Folks Tenney’s comments are the voice of millions enmeshed in charismatic extremism. Note the very low view of holy scripture—the books of the Bible are “dusty rooms” that we shuffle through with the mistaken belief that God is still speaking to us through these biblical letters! Tenney echo’s the statements of many of today’s revivalists by saying there is not even a need to preach the Word of God if “God” shows up, i.e. some paranormal manifestations or unchecked emotionalism breaks forth. Lastly, Tenney says that the early church members communed with God on an intimate one-on-one basis APART from pouring over the “dusty old love letters” that were written long ago. What does my book of dusty old love letters say in response to Mr. Tenney and the other heretics?

These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. Therefore, many of them believed; also of honorable women which were Greeks, and of men, not a few. Acts 17:11-12

The people in Berea heard Paul preach and then they went immediately to those dusty old love letters to validate by objective truth what Paul was proclaiming. What was the end result? MANY of them believed the gospel that Paul preached!  ♦

Copyright © Robert S. Liichow

Endnotes:

1. Oswald Bayer, Theology The Lutheran Way (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2007, p. 53

2. Tommy Tenney, The God Chasers, (Shippensburg: Destiny Image, 1998) p. 31.

3. Bid. p. 44 Underlining and bolding added for emphasis

4. Bid. p. 74 Underlining and bolding added for emphasis.





The Coming Great Awakening

23 12 2009
Truth Matters Newsletters – August 2007 -Vol. 12 Issue 8 – The Coming Great Awakening – By Robert S. Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

The Coming Great Awakening

By Robert S. Liichow

“IT IS TRUE THAT AMERICA IS IN A DESPERATE SPIRITUAL CRISIS. BUT, I HAVE ASSURANCE THAT WE ARE ON A COLLISION COURSE WITH GOD’S REVIVAL POWER.”

RODNEY H. BROWNE

In May 2007 I wrote about Steve Hill’s claim that the greatest outpouring of all times was about to occur…this revelation was based on nothing more than his own opinion. Now Charisma magazine is touting Rodney Howard Browne’s (RHB) assertion that America is on the verge of a third “Great Awakening.” Unlike Hill’s proclamation, Browne bases his belief on a “higher” authority, i.e. some comments President George Bush made at a luncheon back in September o 2006. President Bush said that he felt that America was on the brink of a third great awakening.

In my days as a former charismatic extremist we would often be told that spiritual experiences, be they prophetic words, dreams, visions or new revelations must be authenticated/established by at least two witnesses, preferably three. We got this concept from the following text:

One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin, in any sin that he sinneth at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established. Deut. 19:15

With Steve Hill’s declaration of the coming “greatest” revival and now Rodney Howard-Browne’s assertion of a third “great awakening” many charismatic sign-gift folks are beginning to salivate over the coming next great move of the Spirit. Using the charismatic paradigm I guess it is going to happen. Or is it? What if your witnesses are proven liars? What would two liars establish other than more lies? Why should anyone believe these two SINisters in particular especially in light of their forays into deception and well documented money-grubbing in the 1990’s?

Consider the Source

Rodney Howard-Browne aka “the Holy Ghost Bartender” is the individual who popularized the anti-biblical manifestation commonly known as holy laughter. RHB came to America from South Africa in 1989. He began as an itinerate preacher and as he was preaching about hell in Albany, New York in April, 1989 people began to spontaneously break out into uncontrollable laughter (some people cried as well). The harder RHB preached about eternal damnation the more people began to laugh. Without going any further one would think that if people responded with uproarious laughter at the topic of hell and damnation that surely Satan was at work and not the Holy Spirit.

Yet RHB was not as surprised as he would like us to believe. DMI has in its film archive a clip of Benny Hinn ministering in South Africa in the mid 1980’s People are laughing and Benny is seen & heard declaring “this is holy laughter, holy laughter.” RHB is not seen in the clip, but it is extremely likely that he was there because not long after his meetings in New York RHB took his show on the road down south to Florida, starting off with a meeting at Hinn’s former Orlando Christian Center in 1992. (1) From there RHB moved to Carl Straders “Carpenter’s House Church” in Lakeland, FL. And there RHB held “revival” meetings from 1993-94.

By RHB had incorporated his fledgling SINistry (after all the donations were on the rise) and a good thing too because at Lakeland RHB and his new “move” of the Spirit caught the eye and ear of Oral and Richard Roberts. They came to the meetings, received the “new wine” and prevailed upon RHB to come back to Tulsa with them. It was during the Tulsa meetings that Vineyard Pastor Randy Clarke who admitted he was on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Clarke got the “blessing” and took the highly portable and contagious delusion with him up to another Vineyard pastor friend’s church in Toronto. Once holy laughter broke out at the Toronto Vineyard church it morphed into what became known as the “Toronto Blessing” and the rest is charismatic extremist history.

RHB had initially claimed that he was a former associate pastor of a Rhema Church (aka Kenneth E. Hagin/Word of Faith cult congregation) in South Africa; this lie can be seen in his earlier book publications.

It is to be noted that Howard-Browne’s standard biography claims he once served as an associate pastor at Rhema. But according to Rhema church officials contacted, Howard-Browne was never an associate pastor-nor did he ever hold any pastoral credentials or responsibilities. Said Kelmeyer “Rodney was never an associate pastor here. He was an ordained minister by the state and a lecturer at our Bible school, but was not involved in any form of pastoral work.” (2)

When the truth came to light RHB became to change his rhetoric regarding his past “ministry” in South Africa. Today his statement is as follows:

In 1983 they pioneered a church in the Northeastern Cape and pastured there for two years. After that, Rodney taught classes in a leading Bible School for another two years. (3)

Like most leaders in the charismatic movement when challenged with an uncomfortable truth, he simply ignores all inquires and moves on.

At some point in the mid 1990’s Rodney began to refer to himself as “Dr.” Rodney Howard-Browne. This was also a complete fabrication. To begin with there is no evidence that Mr. Browne ever graduated from an undergraduate college, nor is there any proof that he earned a Master’s degree and then went on to speed two or three years earning his doctorate. The fact is that he obtained his degree from a diploma mill:

Howard-Browne also claimed a “doctorate of ministry degree” from an obscure San Jacinto, California correspondence institution called “The School of Bible Theology.” A state Department of Education employee contacted likened the tiny school, which bills itself as “The Seminary to the World” and has no faculty, to a “diploma mill. (4)

Why does this matter? It points to his willingness to deceive people by attempting to give himself a veneer of theological education and training which he simply does not have. Personally, I have always been amazed at how often people like the deceased Kenneth Hagin, Kenneth Copeland, and RHB have always discounted seminary educations (since they had/have none), yet, they all accept the title “Dr.” in front of their names and are always referred to as “Dr.” in conferences, books and televised programs. RHB wrote about knowing a man who was formerly “anointed” until he attended seminary, then, according to RHB, he graduated totally bereft of any “anointing” (SEE “The Apostles Are Coming”).

As a personal eyewitness I saw that Mr. Browne is in ministry to transfer as many dollars fro those in front of him as possible. In Toronto my wife and I personally witnessed RHB berate people who dared to get up and leave during his impassioned plea for money. He publicly ridiculed those who left the auditorium, it was a sad and pathetic scene. I bring this up because of the comments he made in the article on the “Coming Great Awakening.” I guess if I was in a court of law I would declare to the Judge that my remarks go to “character” (or lack there of).

Revival, Oh Really?

It goes beyond the scope of this small article to detail the history of revivalism in America but suffice it to say that Pentecostalism (and all its sign-gift offshoots) owes its very inception to the concept of spiritual revival beginning with the Azusa Street “revival” of 1906. From there Pentecostalism split apart and formed into several denominations. Approximately forty years later we encounter the Post WWII revival called “The New Order of the Latter Rain (NOLR). The next eruption came in the form of Charismatic Renewal movement/revival where tongues, prophecy and other “signs and wonders” bled over into established mainstream denominations. The date given for this “revival” varies depending upon who you ask. Some say 1950, others 1960 in Van Nuys, CA and others look to 1967 an the formal start of the Roman Catholic Charismatic Renewal movement at the University of Notre Dame then moving over to the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, where I encountered it via the Word of God Community.

Nothing “revival-like” occurred between 1967 and 1994 until Mr. Browne popularized the alleged “new wine” of the Holy Spirit in the form of so-called holy laughter. This lasted for approximately eight years in full force and now it has pretty much petered out, leaving the masses of sign-seekers anxious and hungry for the next spiritual “high”.

What is important to understand is that Pentecostal/charismatic believers are hardwired into the belief that God sends revivals to the Church. The overall purpose of these revivals is to impart spiritual power to hungry people in order to help hasten the return of Jesus Christ. They base their belief on the following text:

Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord, and that he may send the Christ, who has been appointed for you–even Jesus. He must remain in heaven until the time comes for God to restore everything, as he promised long ago through his holy prophets. Acts 3: 19-21

RHB is a product of charismania and knows which hot buttons to push and one of the major ones is “revival.” Obviously the “Gospel-giggles” was not the be-all and end-all consummation of the ages, ergo God must have something else in store for the Church. Since He (in some peoples deluded minds) used RHB before, He will no doubt use him again (RHB is banking on his past revival record to draw the crowds). So now we have RHB touting the “coming great awakening.” What does he base this on? Apart from President’s Bush’s non-binding statement in his own words he says:

It’s also very much needed. Although we have hundreds of thousands of churches in America and thousands of Christian radio and TV stations, America’s moral fabric is being torn apart–not just in the streets but also in the pulpits. People no longer have the fear of God, prayer and the Bible have been removed from our schools; the Ten Commandments have been removed from our courthouses and abortion, divorce, sexual perversion, sexual abuse and same-sex marriages are rampant. (5)

RHB cites the standard litany of woes our culture is facing as proof that America needs “revival.” As bad as the lack of morality is in America it is far worse in other nations, especially in Europe, yet for some reason RHB does not say anything about the need for revival in those nations. For example in the Netherlands prostitution is legal, homosexuality is totally accepted, and people come from all over the world to legally get “high” in Amsterdam because soft drug use is accepted. (6) Not to mention euthanasia and abortion as being perfectly visible “choices.” One might add the state of the Christian Church throughout Europe is atrocious. Rodney also seems to have forgotten that as bad and as rampant as sin is the grace of God does even more abound (see Romans 5:20).

As Christians we are to combat the decay around us by simply being who we are in Christ, i.e. salt (see Matt. 5:13) and light of the world (see Matt 5:14). This does not come about by a supernatural outpouring of power in a 3 day meeting. Christianity that impacts society comes about through the faithful preaching of Law & Gospel from pulpits. Societal change comes when God’s people after being equipped in Church go into the world and LIVE the Word the have received by the grace of God. The Church does not need “revival” we need faithful pastors and obedient congregations – it is just that simple.

It is important to ask the question of whether or not the very concept of revival is a biblical one. The word is not used in the New Testament at all and only four times in the Old in the form of “revive.” Some people mistakenly point to Peter’s preaching and the three thousand men that were brought to faith in Jesus Christ (see Acts 2:14) as “revival.” That was not revival at all! That was evangelism, those coming to Christ were not “revived” they were brought from spiritual death to newness of life in Christ Jesus. There is not one example of the Church being “revived” in the New Testament. In fact, the concept of “revival” does not even come into play in Church parlance until the mid 1700’s. For 1700 years the Church never considered such an event, it is very simply – an invention of man.

In the First Great Awakening what we saw were ministers, initially Jonathan Edwards and George Whitfield (an associate of John Wesley) primarily preaching to Christians who had grown lax in the Christian walk. Upon hearing “law” being preached to them they became afraid and felt condemned, which is exactly what the preaching of “law” does, it shows us our failure in light of a perfectly holy and righteous God. However, preaching the “law” does not bring about repentance or salvation that comes through the proclaiming of God’s grace in Christ as evidence by the cross and His resurrection. The first great awakening devolved fairly rapidly into rampant emotionalism, pietistic experientialism (mainly due to Wesley, Whitfield, Samuel Davies and others) and ungodly enthusiasm. There were good things that also transpired during this time period as well. In the minds of many people who looked back at the Great Awakening, it seemed to them to be the pattern in which God “moved” to further His kingdom. So if there was a “first” awakening, then naturally there had to be a “second” awakening!

The Second Great Awakening which started around 1800 through the 1830’s was even more overrun by emotionalism, false doctrine and aberrant practices. The most recognizable name involved with the second awakening was Charles G. Finney, who was a total heretic and not a Christian. This second move of excess also helped give rise to Mormonism, Millerism (and later its offshoot the Jehovah’s Witnesses) and Seventh Day Adventism. The first awakening was primarily Calvinistic in theological tone, the second awakening was decidedly Arminian at best. The teachings of Finney have held sway on much of what is considered “evangelicalism” in America, I.e. decision theology, faith proceeded salvation, alter calls, etc…

The next “revival” was that of Azusa Street in 1906, which as I have written extensively about, was almost total chaos, occultism, excited ignorance and doctrinal error. Every other subsequent revival has spiraled down even farther into doctrinal darkness and bizarre practices (much of which can be laid at the feet of RHB for popularizing it and calling it the work of the Holy Spirit).

This meander through Church history brings us back to the present and Browne’s declaration of the next “great awakening.” He goes on to say in his article:

We don’t need more life coaches and success motivators, running the same circuits, with messages that all sound exactly the same. We don’t need more people who treat ministry as a moneymaking business, publishing books that have a form of godliness but no power in them, and producing albums with wishy-washy lyrics void of the anointing. (7)

Well I have to agree with Browne there, he is right we do not need any of the above. However, he is more than a little disingenuous when he makes his statement considering he is friends with Paula White (a life coach), Joyce Meyer (a success motivator) and of course Joel Osteen. He is guilty of treating ministry as a moneymaking venture. RHB has incorporated yet another non-profit corporation, this one is called “Revival Ministries International,” he has another organization called “River Bible Institute” his own non-accredited “Bible school, and he also has “The River Church,” where he is the senior pastor (how he can be a pastor and travel weekly is beyond me). He is currently going around America on what he is calling his “2007 Great Awakening Tour,” (8) and it is evident to me that RHB is not missing any chances to wrest a dollar from the unwary sign-seeker!

RHB tells us what to expect during this next great move of the Spirit:

The move of the Spirit in and through every believer, will result in signs and wonders taking place outside of the four walls of the church…God’s power will be demonstrated in all these places, resulting in mass conversions and whole regions begin shaken by the power of God!…The economy will be impacted; the educational system and the media will be transformed. (9)

Does he base any of his statements on the Bible? No, he does not cite any text to buttress his argument for this alleged “great awakening.” The reason why he does not is simple, he CANNOT. There is absolutely not a shred of scripture to back up any of his assertions.

The Biblical Witness of the “End Times”

I have returned to a very simple worldview, if someone is proclaiming anything that is not founded within the context of the Holy Scriptures, then I personally do not care what is said by that individual, period. Here is the biblical picture of what the “last days” (keep in mind these last days have been going on for 2,000 years):

“Tell us,” they said, “when will this happen, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” Jesus answered: Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, but see to it that you are not alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of birth pains. “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come…For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now–and never to be equaled again. If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive , but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened. At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect–if that were possible. See, I have told you ahead of time.   Matthew 24:4-25

Just consider how Jesus responds to His disciples asking Him about the consummation of the ages. Our Master begins by saying (1) watch out that NO ONE deceive you. Deceive us how? (2) By coming in the name of Jesus, claiming to be Christ (or in charismatic extremist terms “I am Anointed” ) and WILL deceive many. Jesus goes on to say that in these very last of days that (3) MANY will turn away from the faith and hate each other. (4) MANY false prophets will appear and deceive MANY people. Due to all these things (5) the love of MOST will grow cold. He goes on to warn us that both false Christs and false prophets will appear and work GREAT SIGNS and MIRACLES to deceive even the elect if possible! He ends by saying “see, I have told you ahead of time.”

What is missing from Jesus’ comments? He is warning His followers to be on the alert and to watch out for the very real possibility of being deceived. He says just because people come using His name does not mean that He sent them and the undiscerning (many people) will be deceived by these frauds. Jesus does not say “oh there will be great revivals and nations will be swept into My kingdom.” On the contrary, He says that MANY will become apostate and defect from biblical Christianity. Bill Hamon wrote in the 1980’s that “God” showed him that God was releasing 10,000 prophets into the earth. (10) Bookstores are filled with books by self-proclaimed prophets and alleged “anointed” ones. Sounds like a fulfillment of “Many false prophets” deceiving MANY. He closes by warning that some of these false Christs and false prophets will work lying signs and wonders of such a compelling nature that if it were possible they could mislead even the elect of God! Compare the words of Jesus with those of RHB. RHB contradicts everything Jesus plainly said about the end times, now who will you believe?

What about the Holy Spirit’s warning through Paul to the Thessalonians?

The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 2 Thessalonians 2:9-10

Paul does not seem to be proclaiming revival or great awakening either in the last of days. He warns Timothy of the following:

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God– having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them. 2 Timothy 3:1-5

But mark this — in the last days there will be great times of mass conversions, all of God’s people working signs and wonders so much so that the government and media will be transformed! No, we read exactly the opposite. I really have to wonder what translation of the Bible RHB and his followers are reading.

Near the end of his ministry the Apostle Peter warns his reads (and us) about what to be on guard against:

But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them–bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping. 2 Peter 2:1-3

This has ever been true, but how much truer it seems in our day! False teachers proclaiming every brand of heresy are on television, holding conferences, traveling the globe (in their private jets). Literally millions of people gladly follow these liars. How many people have been exploited by the likes of Mary K. Baxter, Jesse Duplantis, Cho Thomas and others regarding their alleged trips to heaven and hell? Countless others build their SINistries on personal encounters with Jesus (Kenneth E. Hagin) or meeting with angels (Roland Buck, Cindy Jacobs, etc.). Why doesn’t Peter tell us of the coming great wave of power and glory? Why is he so negative? I don’t see any of these statements as either positive or negative, they are simply statements of truth that we would do well to listen to. There are many other verses I could cite that deal with the dangers from false apostles and false brethren, but I think I have cited enough to demonstrate that what Mr. Browne is proclaiming is a lie.

Please understand I am not some doom-and-gloom person, I have read the end of the Book and Jesus Christ returns and every knee bows to Him and He established everlasting righteousness on the earth and we His people are with Him! I am in total agreement with all legitimate forms of evangelism where God’s Word is accurately presented and the Holy Spirit is allowed to draw whom He will to faith. But do not be deceived by anyone who proclaims some tremendous “move” of the Spirit ( always just on the horizon) and cities and countries being swept into the kingdom of God by last day/end time super anointed spiritual warriors. Anyone who teaches such things is at best biblically ignorant and at worst is a person saying what he or she knows will “sell” even through they don’t believe it themselves.

Make no mistake Rodney Howard-Browne is that type of calculating individual who is simply pandering something he knows will not come to pass, but he is willing to make money from God’s gullible saints who are looking for something beyond Word and sacrament.  ♦

Copyright © Robert S. Liichow

End Notes:

1. Date obtained from an Ives Brault article for PFO. This article is located at : http://www.pfo.org/intoxic.htm

2. Ibid

3. Obtained from RHB’s officla website http://www.revival.com/www/r.aspx?p=54.

4. Obtained from http://www.deceptioninthechurch.com/lewd.html.

5. Charisma, July 2007, The Coming Great Awakening p. 53

6. “Soft-drugs” are not considered to be a problem by the Dutch this includes marijuana hashish, and basically anything other than heroin and cocaine.

7. Charisma, July 2007, The Coming Great Awakening p. 53 Underlining added for emphasis.

8. All of these organization are cited on his official website found at http://www.revival.com Charisma, July 2007, The Coming Great Awakening p. 55.

9. Charisma, July 2007, the Coming Great Awakening, 0p. 55.

10. Hamon, Bill

The very corpulent king of “gospel giggles” is smiling all the way to the bank.

As he preached about hell and eternal damnation the people laughed and RHB called it “revival.”

Admittedly, Browne is not the “great apostasy” but he is indicative of it.

 





Tammy Faye Bakker Messner – She Didn’t Get What She Deserved

17 12 2009
Truth Matters Newsletters – August 2007 -Vol. 12 Issue 8 – Tammy Faye Bakker Messner (She Didn’t Get What She Deserved) – By Robert S. Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

Tammy Faye Bakker Messner

(She Didn’t Get What She Deserved)

By Robert S. Liichow

Out of all the televangelists Tammy Faye always evoked the most sympathy and respect from me. I am sympathetic towards her because she was the product of aberrant doctrine. She was damaged by false teaching her entire life and she never fully recovered from that quicksand of ignorance. I feel sympathy for her because she was deeply wounded and rejected by the very people she and her former husband helped elevate to charismatic superstardom.

What a lot of people may not know is that when they lost PTL and Jim Bakker went to prison, Tammy Faye and her children were virtually left with next to nothing (some said “she got what she deserved”) and not one ministry stepped up to assist the family. Jim and Tammy helped get Pat Robertson started, then he fired Jim. Fro that rejection they went on to help establish Paul & Jan Crouch out in California. Then out of jealousy Jan had Paul Sr. fire Jim and Tammy. Even though Jim & Tammy played a large part in both of the televangelist empires neither Robertson or the Crouches offered one thin dime to Tammy and her children. Some say “Bakker got what he deserved, he went to jail.” Others said when Tammy was diagnosed with cancer “she had it coming to her.” We’ll consider that belief a little bit further on.

In light of the above you might wonder what is there to respect about such a woman. To begin with Tammy Faye was “real” —what you saw was what you got. There was no pretense about her and she was quick to laugh at herself, her makeup, clothing, etc…secondly, she refused to quit and she was a fighter to the end. One thing I can say about Tammy Faye was even though she lacked wisdom she did not lack love for people. Although she never endorsed homosexuality she did have a genuine compassion for people caught in that sin.

She proved this by her short-lived television show co-hosted by a gay man who later died of AIDS. The documentary of her life “The Eyes of Tammy Faye” was produced by two homosexual men and many within that community adopted Tammy Faye (the documentary was quite good in all honesty). She truly loved the sinner but not the sin. Tammy Faye had a heart for broken homeless (which is probably why the charismatic superstars stayed away from her). I respect that loving attitude in anyone. Tammy Faye probably could not have explained the differences between Calvinistic and Arminian views on the atonement…but she did her best to love God with all her heart and her neighbor as herself and isn’t this what Jesus asked of us all?

As to her “getting what she deserved” well the truth is NONE of us receive from God “what we deserve.” In fact, you’d better pray that God does not ever give you what you deserve because if He does what you will end up with is eternal damnation. You see my friends what we all deserve is death and damnation. That is what we have “earned” in this life. Thanks be to God that He gives us what we do not deserve, i.e. His grace and mercy which He pours out in abundance for us in His Son our Lord Jesus Christ. The Father loved us so abundantly that He sent His only begotten Son to die for us, so we would not receive what we so rightly deserve. No, I can honestly say thanks be to God that Tammy Faye did not get what she deserved, instead she received the unmerited favor of God in Christ. I thank God daily that each day His mercy is renewed towards me and as I think about His rich grace given to me, it helps me to be a little more gracious to others. Selah.

Copyright © Robert S. Liichow





A Serious Situation That Requires Serious Action

16 12 2009

Truth Matters Newsletters – August 2007 -Vol. 12 Issue 8 – A Serious Situation That Requires Serious Action – By Robert S. Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

A Serious Situation That Requires Serious Action

At the end of June DMI had $80.00 in the bank, which meant the July newsletter would not be sent out to everyone. What I was forced to do was write a letter to those people who had been receiving Truth Matters , but for whatever reasons had never made a donation to the ministry. You who are reading this did not receive a letter because you do give and your support is deeply appreciated.

As a small ministry we simply cannot afford to “carry” hundreds of people who do not give back something to help us carry out our vision of Teaching Truth & Exposing Error. The good news is that several people who did receive a letter were gracious to give and thus the July newsletter & the August newsletter were able to be prepared and mailed.

There are some exciting changes planned for 2008 and I’m asking you to please do two thing: (1) Pray with us that our Lord will raise up more faithful individuals to support the ministry. (2) That you will continue to remain faithful and do the best you can to help us in our mission.

In closing let me just say again how grateful DMI is for each one of you and your prayers, love, friendship and support. As always, if you have specific, questions about ministries, ministers or prayer requests please contact me at Bliichow@juno.com  (I answer all my email).

His servant and yours,

Rev. Bob Liichow





The Discipline of Biblical Meditation

4 11 2009
Truth Matters Newsletters – July 2007 – Vol. 12 Issue 7 – The Discipline of Biblical Meditation – By Rev. Robert S. Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

By Rev. Robert S. Liichow

The Discipline of Biblical Meditation

We live in a time when it seems our every waking moment is filled with chatter from our televisions, car stereos, ipods and cell phones. I received a newsletter, whose banner line is “is there enough silence for the Word to be heard,” which is a great question in today’s sensory overloaded society. Meditation is somewhat of a lost “art” to many of us because of how we live, yet it is an ancient Biblical discipline that can bear great spiritual fruit in our lives…if we will take the time to be silent and ponder the Words of God.

What Meditation Is Not

“Meditation,” when we hear this word today we often think of some Eastern guru sitting in a lotus position contemplating his or her navel. Or perhaps we may conjure up an image of a monk sitting in his cell in a lonely monastery in some forsaken desert.

Our nation has already experienced the full brunt of eastern meditative techniques taught by a variety of eastern guru, including the likes of Bagwan Shree Ragnesh, Muktanada Paramahansa, Maharishi Ji, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi with his T.M., to the most recent flake called the “Hugging Saint.” After reaping millions of U.S. dollars from their demented disciples the gift they left behind are hordes of people who have drifted further into the darkness of what we call the “New Age Movement.”

On every major college campus in America you will find Hindu Ashrams and New Age Centers. Bookstores are filled to the brim with books on Eastern Mysticism and New Age Practices, which the section regarding biblical truth could be put in a few rather small boxes.

Eastern Hinduism and the New Age are really both the same, there is really nothing “new” about the New Age, it is just ancient Hinduism packaged in a format that is acceptable to Western people. The goal of meditation in both groups is the same — for the individual to realize that they are in fact God.

Hundreds of thousands of people are exposed to what seems to be harmless spiritual practices on Oprah Winfrey’s television program on a regular basis through her two favorite spiritual “advisors” Depak Chopra, a Hindu & Mary Anne Williamson of the Unity cult…both best-selling authors, due in part to Oprah’s support. Both these individuals support the same goal — to lead people to believe they are in fact God. This is nothing new, this was the lie that Satan presented to Adam and Eve in the garden “You shall be like God” (Genesis 3:5).

In both Hinduism & The New Age Movement the practice of YOGA in its many styles is tied together with meditation in order to achieve “God-consciousness” or oneness with the “Universal Mind.”

Yoga has been widely accepted in the U.S. and is usually offered at Y.M.C.A.’s across this nation. Some Christians might argue — “Well brothers wouldn’t you agree that Christians can practice yoga for exercise without accepting its philosophy?

My answer is simple: No. Biblical Christians cannot practice yoga. Not only is it unbiblical, it is ungodly in its origins.

Yoga is specifically tied to Hinduism and there is no way to divorce the 2 from each other. Each form of YOGA (and there are over 30 different varieties of yoga) is specifically geared towards putting one in touch with various Hindu deities. So there is nothing spiritually neutral about it at all. Please, do not take my word for it, God Himself has spoken plainly and said in:

For ye were sometimes darkness, but now [are ye] light in the Lord: walk as children of light: (For the fruit of the Spirit [is] in all goodness and righteousness and truthJ Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove [them]. Eph. 5:8-11

As Christians we are to have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness. On the other hand we, as Christians, are to reprove, which in the Greek (elegchete) means to expose openly the error of these unfruitful works which have their origin in Satan and not Christ.

Yoga and eastern-meditation are most assuredly unfruitful works of darkness which have their origin in Satan and the demonic realm.

Many times in the newspapers you’ll see cartoons of some individual climbing way up on a mountain top to ask the meditating guru what is “the answer.”? And they generally give some funny response: even some companies use television commercials with this same concept of meditation. This Eastern/New Age view is generally what many believers think of when someone mentions meditation.

However, despite the great popularity of all the counterfeit forms of meditation that Satan and his demons use to lead people astray from the light of God into further darkness, one fact still remains: The Bible mentions the practice of meditation quite a bit and it is one of the spiritual disciplines attached to our prayer life and it is a discipline we need to both practice daily & master.

Biblical Meditation Defined

As always, we must begin with a biblical understanding of what we are talking about when it comes to meditation. What does the word mean? The first time we find it mentioned in the bible is in Genesis:

And Isaac went out to meditate in the field at the eventide: and he lifted up his eyes, and saw, and, behold, the camels [were] coming. Genesis 24:63

In this text mediate is defined in the Hebrew as: “Soo-Ah” and in this setting it means to muse, commune, speak, and complain.

Without delving into Isaac’s problems we note that after his work day was over, it was eventide or sunset. One of the 2 most beautiful times of the day. In my opinion, the other is sunrise. He went alone and he went out to specifically meditate.

We do not know exactly what form his meditation took. We don’t know if he was pondering his fate, his future. Was he communing with the God of Abraham in the silence of his soul, was he speaking or complaining to God about his lot in life. Any and all of which as we have learned are forms of prayer — DIALOG, between ourselves and our God. Prayer is best defined as speaking & Listening. Probably a more familiar text and more practical one is found in the book of Joshua:

Be strong and of a good courage: for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I swore unto their fathers to give them. Only be thou strong and very courageous. that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it [to] the right hand or [to] the left, that thou mayest prosper whithersoever thou goest. This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth: but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage: be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the LORD thy God [is] with thee whithersoever thou goest. Jos. 1:6-9

Moses had died and God had placed Joshua in Moses position and Joshua was afraid the people would not follow him. The Lord God speaks to Joshua and encourages him and reminds him that He will be with Joshua just as He was with Moses.

He tells Joshua to be: (1) STRONG and (2) COURAGEOUS. Why? That Joshua may observe to do all the law which Moses had handed down.

To “observe” in the Hebrew means to keep, to guard, to protect and act upon. Do you realize that at times, (and it seems like those times are multiplying in our day as Christians) that its takes strength and courage to uphold God’s Word and swim against the stream of popular religious opinion?

It takes both strength & courage to be a doer of His Truth and not one who compromises God’s Word for the sake of societal trends or even denominational stances on certain issues. To be such a person, to be one who is willing to swim upstream and at times stand alone in order to uphold God’s Word requires both strength and courage.

Where was Joshua supposed to get the STEEL he needed to keep Him from becoming a spineless jellyfish. You all know what a jellyfish is right? That is a somewhat amorphous sea creature that generally floats along with whatever direction the current may be flowing. Jellyfish do not swim against the current. They float along. Frankly too many preachers have no spine today and even though they know what the Bible plainly teaches about many “politically incorrect” issues they remain silent, they suffer from the disease of “non-rock-a-boat-itis,” a disease I am gladly immune to. As Lee Frank is oft quoted saying:

All that is needed for the forces of evil to succeed is for enough good men to remain silent.

My friends, America and the Church in general is in the trouble it is in because too many Good men have remained silent or have been silenced.

On Judgment Day brothers and sisters, I would not want to be in the shoes of any minister who knew the truth but refused to teach it to God’s people. Nor would I want to stand in the place of those who dared to silence the man of God from proclaiming what the Bible teaches because they were “afraid” of the potential fall-out fro the unvarnished proclamation of the Gospel.

This Fear is never from God, it comes from only 2 sources: (1) either from Satan or (2) ourselves when we lack faith in God. Three ties God tells Joshua to be strong and courageous and what is more He shows Joshua how to do it!

The Church today needs more Jeremiah’s who God told to “be not afraid of their faces: for I [am] with thee to deliver thee, saith the LORD (Jer. 1:8).” Instead of being Casper Milk-toasts when faced by those who are not on the Lord’s side of an issue.

God teaches Joshua how to be strong, non-compromising and fearless in the face of his flock & his enemies.

Do you want to like Joshua, who went on to fight ten major battles and conquer a land and lead at times cantankerous stiff necked people?

If so, then you’re about to learn that meditation is a key ingredient in being a doer of all God’s Word versus a hearer only who ends up deceiving themselves and others according to James 1:22. Let’s re-read Joshua verse 8:

This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein; for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success. Jos 1:8

Meditate here is a different Hebrew word than the word used in Genesis, here it is “Ha-ga.” It means to: utter, muse, mutter, speak, whisper, to murmur and study. It carries with it the connotation of a cow chewing its cud.

God commands (note, He does not suggest, meditation is not an option for a successful spiritual life) Joshua to meditate on it which means that he is to both to muse, ponder, i.e. think about what God has revealed in His law and he is to chew on it, dissect it and also mutter it softly to himself, or in today’s parlance he was to confess God’s law to himself.

“Oh come on now, surely Rev. Liichow you don’t expect us to believe Joshua walked around muttering the bible to himself do you? And of course, you don’t expect us to do the same do you? Oh yes, I am sure Joshua did exactly this. If you want to enter into a deeper walk with the Holy Spirit then you will do likewise and spend the time necessary to deeply consider the Word of the Lord.

What do you think Paul’s admonition to the Church at Ephesus was about when he wrote them saying:

Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; Eph 5:19-20

This is exactly what the Lord was telling Joshua to do. Its called meditation. Your mind is always thinking about something, it might as well be zeroed in on God’s Word!

One easy way to do this in the workplace or anyplace is by listening to Gospel or sacred music or the Bible on your CD player in the car, while jogging or walking. That is a perfect way to help guide our wandering minds back to the Word of God and His precepts.

It’s easy to tell who lives a life of prayer and meditation because they view ALL of life’s issues through the lens of the Scripture. These folks obey the directives of their God as He gave them in —

And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them, when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. And thou shall bind them for a sign upon thin hand, and they shall be as frontets between thine eyes. De 6:6-8

These Kingdom seekers embody —

Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time. Let your speech [be] always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man. Col. 4:5-6

Because these folks have sought the Lord early and spent time before the Lord in prayer and Bible stud and have been pondering the Word they’ve studied, they’ve muttered and memorized portions of it and contemplated how it applies to their daily lives. Pretty soon they are walking in wisdom towards unbelievers; they are making the most of their time; their words are gracious and seasoned with salt; they know, because they are sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit how they ought to answer every man! Jesus said it this way —

A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil; for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh Luke 6:45

Those who pray and meditate, who speak about the things pertaining to the Kingdom of God versus gossiping about others. Their hearts are full of God’s Word, that they have pondered, muttered and memorized! That’s why it is easy to recognize souls such as these. The bottom line: We talk about what we know, if we know the Lord and His Word fills our hearts & minds we will talk about it.

How Often?

How often was Joshua to do this? Day and Night. When it is not day, what is it? Night! When it is not night, what is it? Day! In other words Biblical meditation CAN and IS to be practiced both day & night.

Keep in mind that Joshua had a nation of people to lead, this tells me that biblical meditation is practical and can be done in the midst of our busy schedules.

It does not mean you have to go to some secluded area and recite Scriptures out loud to yourself, although if tie permits that is a form of meditation.

The Results of Meditation

God told Joshua, that through meditation he would be able to keep & do all the law. Then and only them Joshua was told that his way would be made prosperous and successful. Prosperous here means to advance spiritually and good success is defined in the Hebrew as to be prudent, to be circumspect and have insight!

Television preachers often teach this text to mean that if you will meditate in God’s Word that you will become financially wealthy, that is not in the Hebrew. It has to do with spiritual advancement and Godly wisdom in dealing with the affairs of life.

King David the Master of Meditation

But his delight [is] in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. Ps. 1:2-3

As I wrote regarding the first discipline, you make time and spend time with the people you love. If you love the Lord and delight in Him, then you will speak to and with Him in prayer. David DELIGHTED in the law. Ask yourself, do you delight in the Bible, if not, why not?

Those who LOVE the Word will spend time in the WORD and the benefit of their meditation will be: (1) A strong root system, (2) A consistent feeding from the Holy Spirit, the River of Living Water, (3) Fruitfulness (4) Spiritual advancement, the whatsoever he doeth pertains to the Word he or she has been mediating on. They will see the manifestation of it. Their position in Christ will begin to become their experience.

But know that the LORD hath set apart him that is godly for himself; the LORD will hear when I call unto him. Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah  Ps. 4:3-4

At night when we lie down we can mediate, commune with our hearts and be still, listening for that still small voice. Note how David connects prayer “the Lord WILL hear when I CALL unto Him” with communing.

David says “Stand in awe”—are we in awe of God? If we recognize His presence is truly with us then we should “sin not.” Paul says the same thing in Corinthians:

Awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak [this] to your shame. 1 Cor. 15:34

He tells thee “Spirit-filled” tongue-talking, sign-gift manifesting Christians to wake up to who they are, the righteousness of God in Christ. He goes on to rebuke them saying that some of them do not have the knowledge of God, and he says that to their shame! Why didn’t they? They had not been seeking first the kingdom of God and its righteousness; they had not been meditating in the Word or walking in love. They were seeking gifts and not working on developing fruit. Meditating on God’s Word will help you develop spiritual fruit and fruitfulness. Our God is glorified when we bear spiritual fruit (John 15:8 Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples). Meditating on God’s Word will help us bear fruit! Let’s continue.

The fear of the LORD [is} clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD [are} true [and] righteous altogether. More to be desired [are they] then gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them is thy servant warned: [and] in keeping of them [there is] great reward. Who can understand [his] errors? Cleanse thou me from secret [faults]. Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous [sins]; let them not have dominion over me; then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression. Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer. Ps. 19:9-14

I believe we can see a progression in this Psalm. Meditation starts and finishes with the Holy, inerrant Word of God. His Word is true and righteous altogether.

As Christians we are to desire The Holy Spirit’s divine illumination more than gold —(I hope you’re seeing how seeking first ties directly into this).

His Word is sweeter than honey. God has given us His Word to warn us and in keeping, that is, doing His Word is great reward. What “great reward”? Through prayer, fasting, Bible study and meditation —The Holy Spirit will reveal to you secret sins, things you think nobody else knows about and He will graciously bring you to repentance of them. What is more the Holy Spirit will make you strong through the sacraments and help keep you from presumptuous.

Then you are in position to have fellowship with our Lord. Then the words of your mouth & the meditation of your heart will be acceptable in the sight of your Lord, the One who is both your Strength & Redeemer.

I will sing unto the LORD as long as I live: I will sing praise to my God while I have my being. My meditation of him shall be sweet: I will be glad in the LORD. Ps. 104:33-34

We already read in Ephesians 5:19-20 the role of singing and making melody in our hearts as a form of meditation. When I mediate on how good God has been to me and is towards me, then it is sweet! When I mediate on how He delivered me from the dominion of darkness and translated me into the Kingdom of His dear Son I am glad in the Lordmakes even this Lutheran boy want to shout and dance!

O how love I thy law! It [is] my meditation all the day. Thou through thy commandments hast made me wiser than mine enemies: for they [are] ever with me. I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies [are] my meditation. Ps. 119:97-99

Let me bring this discipline to a close with this text, it embodies what the Holy Spirit wants us to know: 1). David loved God’s Word —Proof—he meditated on it all the day and even when he laid down on his bed at night. 2) Through meditating on God’s Word he incorporated it into action, David did what he studied—Proof— he was wiser then his enemies. Wisdom is the Word being practically applied. 3). Through his time with God in prayer & study he gained more insight than his teachers—PROOF—for contents of the Bible were his meditation. Spiritual growth & advancement comes through spending time with God in fasting, prayer, Bible study and meditating on what you’ve studied so you can apply it to your own life and thus become a disciple of Christ who bears much spiritual fruit, fruit that endures. ♦

Copyright © Robert S. Liichow

AMEN !

 

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The Discipline of Fasting

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

Discernment Ministries International

The Discipline of Fasting

By Robert S. Liichow

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

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

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

Shaping History Through Prayer and Fasting by Derek Prince

Commonsense Guide to Fasting by Kenneth E. Hagin

Destroying the Works of Witchcraft Through Fasting; Ruth Brown

The Miracle Results of Fasting  Dave Williams

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

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

God’s Chosen Fast, Authur Wallis

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

Fasting for Spiritual Breakthrough, Elmer L. Towns

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What Fasting Is Not!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What Fasting Is

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

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

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

Why Fast?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Copyright © Robert S. Liichow

End Notes

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

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

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

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

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Bob the “Bully”

27 10 2009

Truth Matters Newsletters – June 2007 – Vol. 12 Issue 6 – Bob the “Bully” – by Rev. Robert S. Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

Bob the “Bully”

By Rev. Robert S. Liichow

“Nowadays any one who insists that pure doctrine is a very important matter is at once suspected of not having the right Christian spirit. The very term “pure doctrine” has been proscribed and outlawed…If any one goes to the extreme, as it is held to be, of even fighting for the pure doctrine and opposing every false doctrine, he is set down as a heartless and unloving fanatic.”

C.F.W. Walther, September 11, 1885.

Dr. Walther made the above statement over 125 years ago in his book “The Proper Distinction Between Law and Gospel.” (in fact all his quotes are from that book) and I have learned over the years of involvement in this type of ministry that his words are truer today then when he initially spoke them. It is the responsibility of every minister, as our ministry motto says to “teach truth and expose error.” Yet when any minister does this he is indeed called a “heartless and unloving fanatic,” and that is putting it mildly compared to what I am called on a regular basis by those who walk in doctrinal darkness. Walther goes on to say:

There is no question, then, but that both, yes, both these efforts are necessary: to defend the truth and to oppose every doctrinal error.

Walther’s position is most assuredly the biblical one as we read stated in Jude:

Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints. Jude 1:3

When I embarked upon this facet of ministry over ten years ago I did not expect the vitriol, personal attacks and unreasoned arguments that were to come. Initially, I assumed that others involved in charismatic extremism would rejoice and embrace the truth when it was showed to them as my wife and I did. It did not take long for me to realize that biblical truth (pure doctrine in Walther’s words) is fought against and often out rightly rejected by the ones who should be embracing it. The following e-mail is merely that latest of many attacks DMI endures form those who call themselves Christians. This “sister” wrote us regarding our article about Joel Osteen:

The greatest Christian sin is not adultery. Adultery is one of the greatest wicked acts. It’s not stealing. Stealing is a terrible thing because it puts others at a disadvantage. It’s not lying. This is the worst kind of deception and must be condemned. It’s not murder. This is inhuman. It’s not prayerlessness or lack of Bible reading. It’s not absconding church services. This is because Christians do not commit any of the above sins. What then is the greatest Christian sin? The greatest Christian sin is judgment. How? True, because judgment is only reserved for the judge or for the King and in our case God. It’s God’s privilege to judge and we cannot share that honor. I pray that God will help me not to judge in these entire short messages. I write….

How incredibly arrogant you are. Again nothing but judgment from someone who thinks he is so above every thing and everyone including God…Your response was no surprise and is typical of someone who can’t see the forest for trees. Sham on you! Funny thing is God and the universe will find a way of humbling you. It’s called the two by four between the eyes and it happens to those whose arrogance clouds their real vision and keeps them from loving kindness. When it happens I hope you will see that attacking others is not Christian, nor is it kindness. It is arrogance at it’s worst. You’ve taken something you’ve incorrectly interpreted and spun your own arrogant view on it and use it to bear false witness against those you have NO RIGHT to judge. I agree you will not stop being a bully or being arrogant. Your motivation is jealousy and hatred. I just wanted you to know that your lies and hateful behavior will never reach those of us who love unconditionally the way God and Jesus do.

Note how the writer says the “greatest sin” is judging another person. First of all, this is not the greatest sin in the Bible and if it was then she is extremely guilty of this. Note the following judgmental statements: (1) incredibly arrogant you are, (2) thinks he is so above every thing…including God, (3) a bully, (4) motivation is jealousy and hatred and (5) lies and hateful behavior. Fortunately for sister Bailey, these 5 spiritual deficiencies of mine will NEVER reach her or those like her who “love unconditionally.” In responding to her I kept asking what specifically had I written concerning Mr. Osteen that was factually wrong, or what comments I had written that were hateful towards him in any way; she never answered me. I also told her that neither I or DMI doubts the sincerity of Mr. Osteen nor do we doubt that he loves Jesus. However his sincerity does not abrogate Mr. Osteen’s lack of biblical education or the lack of sound biblical preaching to the congregation Osteen, Robert Schuller, Rick Warren and others all fit perfectly in with another comment by C.F.W. Walther:

The worst offenders in this respect are the so-called rationalistic preachers, who with diabolical audacity mount Christian pulpits and instead of preaching Christ, the Savior, to all sinners, recite their miserable moral precepts for a virtuous life and fill ears of the people with their empty bombast.

I guess Walther would have been excoriated by sister Bailey too as a bully and filled with envy. Pray that our Lord mercifully opens Ms. Bailey’s ears to the truth and all those like her. She is just one of the many emails DMI receives each month. Pray for us too, that we will stay the course and continue to teach truth and expose error.

Copyright © Robert S. Liichow

 





THE TORONTO DECEPTION by a Former Vineyard Pastor

23 10 2009
Truth Matters Newsletters – May 2007 – Vol. 12 Issue 5 – The Toronto Deception By a Former Toronto Vineyard Pastor

Discernment Ministries International

THE TORONTO DECEPTION by a Former Vineyard Pastor

It has taken me nine years to actually come to the place where I would write this story. Part of the reason was because I was not fully convinced that it is appropriate to speak out against weaknesses in the body of Christ publicly. Another reason is because it has taken years of soul searching to become convinced that what happened in the Toronto Airport Church was actually all bad or at least more bad than good!

For the past number of years I have called it a mixed blessing. I think James A. Beverly called it this in his book Holy Laughter and the Toronto Blessing 1994. Today I would call it a mixed curse concluding that any individual good that came from this experience is far outweighed by much harm and satanic deception. I suppose that therein has been the dilemma. I have tried to live my life in the fear of the Lord and Jesus told us that the unforgivable sin was the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. Attributing to Satan what was in fact a work of God. If pressed as to whether or not the Toronto blessing is all God or all Devil I will still be hedgy, but I am convinced that Satan has used this experience to blind people to the historical doctrine of God, to produce fruit in keeping with repentance, to failing to test and discern the spirits and failing to test prophecy.

After three years of being in the thick of the Toronto blessing our Vineyard assembly in Scar bough (East Toronto) just about self destructed. We devoured one another, with gossip, backstabbing, division, sects criticism etc. After three years of “soaking” praying for people, shaking, rolling, laughing, roaring, ministering at TACF on their prayer team, leading worship at TACF, preaching at TACF, basically living at TACF we were the most carnal, immature and deceived Christians that I know. I remember saying to my friend and senior pastor at Scarborough Vineyard Church in 1997 that ever since the Toronto Blessing came we have just about fallen to bits! He agreed!

My experience has been that the manifestation of spiritual gifts mentioned in 1st Corinthians 12 was much more common in our assembly, before January 1994 (when the Toronto blessing started.) than during this period of supposed Holy Spirit visitation. During 1992-1993 when praying for people we would experience what I believe was genuine prophesy, deliverance and much grace and favour from the Lord. After the Toronto Blessing started, all ministry time changed, the only prayers were ‘More Lord MORE’, the shouting of ‘Fire’ the jerky shaking of the body with the ‘ooh ooh OOH WOOOAAH’ prayer. (I kid you not!)

On January 20th 1994 about 15 people from our church traveled over to Toronto Airport Vineyard in order to listen to Randy Clark, a Vineyard pastor from the USA. John Arnott had called our senior pastor to invite us. He communicated that Randy had been to the Rodney Howard Browne meetings and that the stuff had broke out in his church in the following weeks. John was hoping that something might break out with us too. We were only too happy to travel over. We were a church plant out of the Toronto Airport and we started in 1992. In those days there were three Vineyard Churches in Toronto. One Down Town church, Scarborough vineyard church to the east and the AirPort Church. We were one big happy family. Because we were small in number we did special meetings, conferences etc, together.

The year before most of our leadership teams joined and had headed to Nicaragua for a short term missions trip. We had genuine love and fellowship with each other. Since leaving the Vineyard churches I have read a fair bit of analysis from the critics. Some make out that the Toronto Blessing was one huge conspiracy to lead the body of Christ into heresy. Heresy and apostasy I suspect may well be the result, but none of these destinations were intentional. I am honestly convinced that the leaders in the Vineyard churches are genuine born-again Christians who love the Lord, but have fallen into deception. They have not loved the Lord enough to keep His commandments. They have failed to obey the scriptures and have been led astray by our longing for something bigger and brighter and more exciting and dynamic. I am guilty of this sin also. I have preached renewal in Korea, the United Kingdom, the USA and here in Canada. I am genuinely repentant and in writing this story I would ask you the bride and body of Christ to forgive me. Especially the Pentecostal/charismatic Christians among you, for you are my immediate family theologically. I am an evangelical Christian, I always have been but I do not believe in the cessation of the spiritual gifts at the end of the apostolic era. I believe that it was my evangelical roots (my Family are Baptists and I was born again in the Presbyterian Church) that started to open my eyes to problems with this so called renewal In hindsight I look back and think how could I have been so blind? I laughed at people acting like dogs and pretending to urinate on the columns of the TACF building. I watched people pretend to be animals, bark, roar, cluck, pretend to fly as if they had wings, perpetually act drunk and sing silly songs. How I thought that any of this was from the Holy Spirit of God amazes me today. It was loud irreverent and blasphemous to the Holy God of the Bible. I suppose in my mind I reasoned that as long s they did not teach any thing in direct violation to scripture then it was what we called the exotic. This is a buzzword for manifestations that could not be justified from a biblical perspective. I was taught from the pulpit that we had two options. The order of the nursery full of life and messy or the order of the graveyard, very orderly but dead! As a young immature pastor I wanted life with mess. I failed to remember that God wants us to become mature and grow up in him.

I became disconnected by the prophetic words that came forth especially one by Carol Arnott in which she had her bride experience where she was taken into the very presence of Jesus and said that the love that she experienced was even better than sex! I was shocked in my spirit and thought how can one compare the love of God with sex? When we suspected that demons were running riot in our services John Arnott would teach that we should ask are they coming or going. If they are leaving then that is ok! John would defend the chaos by saying that we ought not be afraid of being deceived, if we have asked the Holy Spirit to come and fill us then how could Satan come and deceive us? This would make Satan very strong and God very weak! He said that we needed to have more faith in a Big God to protect us than in a Big Devil to deceive us. This sounded very convincing but was totally contrary to scripture for Jesus and Paul and Peter and John all warn us about the power of deceiving spirits and especially so in the last days. Again we did not love God enough to obey His Word and the result was that we opened ourselves up to lying spirits. May God have mercy upon us!

Finally the penny dropped for me a I was rolling around one night ’drunk in the Spirit’ as we would say. I started singing and as I rolled around the floor the Nursery the Rhyme ’Mary had a little lamb its fleece was white as snow.’ came to mind. I sang this in a mocking spirit and instantly my heart told me this was a demon. Instantly I repented and was in total shock. How could a demon get into me? Did I not love God? Was I not zealous for the things of God? Was I not nuts about Jesus? I knew that as unclean spirit had just manifested through me and I was guilty of great sin. After this experience I stayed away from TACF. I did not go back there any more. I did not possess the conviction to denounce the whole experience but thought that we were failing to pastor the Blessing well enough.

Even after I stopped going over to TACF, I had to pastor the fruit of it. One example was when some of our people returned from a meeting there asking us if we had all received the golden sword of the Lord? I asked them what they were talking about thinking that it was some prophetic reference to the Holy Scriptures but they said, ’no its not the Bible, it’s an invisible golden sword that only the really pure can receive. If taken in an unrighteous fashion then the Lord would kill you. But if you are holy enough to receive it then you can wield this sword and it will heal aids, Cancer etc. and bring salvation. How one wielded this sword was by pretending to have this invisible sword in your hand and motioning to strike people with it when in prayer! I thought while even in deception at this time that the TACF had become Looney bins! This was purportedly first received by Carol Arnott and then given to the ones holy enough to receive it! Another thing was the golden fillings in the teeth. We had people in our assembly peeping down one another’s throats looking for the gold fillings that God had placed there to show how much he loved them! In all my time there I only heard one message on repentance given by a visiting speaker from Hong Kong named Jackie Pullinger. It went over like a lead balloon. We were not there to repent, we were there to party in the Lord! After one year into the blessing, I spoke out at a pastors meeting and said ‘guys we have shaken, rattled, rolled, laughed cried and bought the tee-shirt. But we have no revival, no salvation, no fruit and no increased evangelism so what’s the deal?” I was soundly rebuked – who was I to expect to see fruit when the Lord was healing his broken people? We had been legalistic long enough and god was spending this time restoring his wounded and freeing us from legalism I was told not push the Lord and the harvest would come in his time.’

So there is my story. I could go on and document much excess, folly, sin and latter day reign teaching that manifest from the prophetic end of this blessing but others have already done that. We sang about Joel’s army and the billion soul revival as if it were one of the Ten Commandments, and as always it was just around the corner. Next month, next year etc. Jesus said that when the son of man returns will he find faith upon the earth ? And if he dies not return when he does no flesh would be saved but for the sake of the elect he comes. This is a far cry fro the dominionism, that is being taught all through the vineyard/prophetic/spiritual warfare movement. I honestly think that they think they are going to take over the whole world! While in the Vineyard I embraced a life verse from the Apostle Paul the phrase do not go beyond what is written!

To finish I just want to say sorry for the damage, that I have personally done by teaching things that are not correct biblically. I repent before men as I already have before God. I will not excuse my falling into deception. I did not bother to test things when the scriptures commanded us to do so. Everyone who was there when this thing started knows that what I write is true, they would just come to different conclusions especially if they are still promoting the ‘river!’

To those in te river I would say swim out, there are things living in the water that will bite you real good! I love the people of TACF and the Vineyard movement but I think that we have much to answer for and may the Lord open your eyes sooner rather than later. I suspect that when this letter goes online I will get bombarded by emails from both camps, some damning me for still believing in the ministry of the Holy Spirit and still walking in deception and some old friends damning me for exposing dirt or being negative about the Lords anointed! Well, the Lord knows my heart and by his grace he will guide me into all truth as I seek to know Christ and him crucified! I would call on all who read this to pray that the Lord would open the eyes of all who have been involved in this deception. Whether leader or follower, we are loved and the Lord is a forgiving God. He says if we confess our sins he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. I believe we are like the church in Laodicea, we think that we are rich, have prospered and need nothing, we do not realize that we are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind and naked. We must take the Counsel of Jesus and buy gold refined in the fire (which is his suffering, not a false spirit!) white garments to clothe our shameful nakedness and salve for our eyes that we might see again. Jesus is calling us to repentance and thank the Lord that he is, for it will lead us to true restoration with our Father! If God has forgiven me and opened my eyes then he can do it for all those caught in deception too. I will finish with a warning from Paul, he says if you think you are standing firm be careful lest you fall.

Sincerely, Paul Gowdy

Personally having been redeemed form charismatic extremism I applaud brother Growdy for his honesty and brokenness to share his testimony. My wife and I were present when Mrs. Arnott gave her infamous “golden sword” prophecy and saw firsthand the effect it had on the thousands present at that service. I pray our gracious Lord continues to restore Paul’s soul and that he has found safe haven in a biblically sound congregation. His testimony simply affirms what DMI has been saying for over the years. Literally hundreds of thousands of professing Christians have bought into a belief system which is not only biblically unsound but also spiritually damaging.

Sadly to date charismatic extremism shows little decrease in momentum and in some of its man facets in growing rapidly. Due to the growth of such gross doctrinal error DMI needs your support more than ever and we ask that you would pleas pray for our portion of Christ’s ministry and to also put “legs” to your prayers by financially supporting our work to His glory.

Rev. Robert S. Liichow





Jesus Christ Is Back & Living “Large” in Houston!

20 10 2009
Truth Matters Newsletters – April 2007 – Vol. 12 Issue 4 – Jesus Christ Is Back & Living “Large” in Houston! – by Robert S. Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

Jesus Christ Is Back & Living “Large” in Houston !

I know this will comes as a shock to almost all of you, it was to me. Some how the Church has missed the return of Jesus Christ! Jesus is back on earth living a very prosperous life in Houston, Texas. Seems that now Joel Osteen has some real competition to run against.

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Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda claims to be the Lord Jesus Christ in the flesh and destinies in his hands. Maybe I should begin with a little background on Jose:

Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda is a 60 year-old former heroin addict and convict who believes that he is the living incarnation of “Jesus Christ, the Man… the second coming of Christ.” The Pueto Rican-born Miranda claims that in 1973 he had an “epiphany” — a revelatory manifestation of a divine being. He says that he doesn’t know why God picked him. Still, Miranda once believed that he was the reincarnation of the apostle Paul. Then two years later he proclaimed himself as Jesus Christ. “God merged with me [and]…the resurrected Jesus…integrated/infiltrated himself within me.” (1)

Jose seems a little confused; first he believes he is the reincarnation of the Apostle Paul, then a couple of years later he says that the “spirit” of Jesus merged with his spirit making him Jesus Christ (talk about upward mobility). He also readily admits to being a former drug addict, ex-convict, enjoys scotch whiskey and has been married twice (so far).

Miranda formed his own ministry in the mid-80s, Crescendio en Gracia (Growing in Grace Ministry’) or “God’s Government on Earth.” While currently headquartered in a Miami, Florida warehouse, Miranda travels with a security team of nine bodyguards. He claims that his followers, largely Hispanic, reside in more than 20 countries, primarily in Central and South America, as well as the United States. His people call him everything from apostle to Jesus Christ man, giving him their entire savings, cars, businesses, and estates, including a million-dollar home in a gated community. (2)

Naturally Miranda has a website where one can see various television interviews he has given and other televised testimonies from those who have been bewitched by him. Unfortunately, the website doe not provide any clear doctrinal statement. If those with computer/internet access desire to they can visit http://www.cegenglish.com  and tune in on Wednesday at 8 PM (EST) and hear Jose’s teaching live! The website makes the following claims regarding their savior:

As the last manifestation of God in the flesh, He has established the Government of God on earth as written in the Gospel and NEVER does telethons for his radio or TV programs.

He has promised that every religion including Catholics, Protestants, Jewish, Mormons, etc will end as their leaders are corrupt in teaching an expired doctrine.

Worldwide followers—The CHURCH—recognized and proclaimed him as the LORD, and revealed to all nations that HE IS GOD (Rom. 16:25).

Let’s consider these claims one by one. The first claim they make is that Jose is the “last” manifestation of God in the flesh. How many prior manifestations of God in the flesh have there been? I know of only one, the Lord Jesus Christ who conceived of the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, died on the cross, descended into hell and was raised from the dead three days later and ascended into heaven. He shall come again to judge the living and the dead and of whose kingdom there shall be no one.

Jose has established the government of God on earth as written in the Gospel? Oh really? Has Miranda begun to fulfill the sayings of the Biblical Jesus in Matthew 25:

All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. Matthew 25:32-33

Sorry Jose, you don’t fit the description of what the retuning King will do. Nor does he fulfill the word spoken by the holy angel to the disciples at the ascension of Jesus in Acts: “Men of Galilee” they said, “ why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.Acts 1:11

If words mean anything, then the real Jesus will come back to earth in the same manner in which He left. He will return and descend from heaven with a shout and the voice of the archangel:

For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 1 Thessalonians 4:16,17

The return of Jesus comes with a loud command and the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God Almighty. The dead in Christ rise first and then those believers living will also be caught up in the air to meet Jesus. Has any of this taken place yet? Obviously none of this has taken place and I have yet to find any explanation on Miranda’s part to answer why, if he is Christ, he has not fulfilled his own word?

Another aspect of “God’s government” is seen in the following judicial action on the part of the true Judge of all flesh:

For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own turn: Christ, the first fruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him. Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. For he “has put everything under his feet,” 1 Corinthians 15:21-27

Has death been destroyed? Is Jose getting older each day (how can God age?). Whom has Miranda raised from the dead, since resurrection comes from the Second Adam? Answer—no one!

Next his duped disciples inform us that there will be no telethons for his radio and TV broadcast, I guess this is a swipe at the TBN and 700 Club leaders who continually pimp their followers via telethons.

Furthermore, Miranda ha promised to end all other religions, which since he is saying he is the return of Christ, would be natural. What is not stated is exactly how he is supposed to end all forms of the existing Church along with Judaism and the Mormons. The reason given for the need to end these groups is because all their leaders are corrupt and are teaching an “expired” doctrine. I certainly can find doctrinal error in all the groups he mentioned. However, I would like to know how a doctrine, which by definition is an expression of absolute truth, can become expired? If something is true then it is eternally true. Truth does not expire, nor grow old. It is either accepted humbly or rejected outright. Miranda opts for rejecting the truth outright; after all, the man is claiming to be the return of Christ as well as the antichrist at the same time.

His website has the following statement on the top of its main page. This is a quote from the newspaper La prensa of El Salvador;

With over 30 countries already reached, more than 350 educational centers, Now own radio and television satellite channels, 300+ radio and television programs, an entourage of over 300+ faithful pastors, and a ministry of over a million followers growing in numbers everyday…The nations are shaking as the man Christ Jesus is leading the biggest reform the world has ever seen. (3)

What nations are shaking? What is the “biggest” reform the world has ever seen? Since he claims to be the returned Jesus Christ that would make him the Prince of Peace also; is the world at Peace? Has the Arab/Israeli conflict ended? Is the war in Iraq over? If Miranda is God in the flesh, then he is supposed to be sitting on David’s throne ( in Jerusalem) and ruling the nations with a rod of iron:

And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS. Revelation 19:15-16

My family and I have heard Jose “preach” live from his website and there was no “sharp sword” proceeding out of his mouth, in fact, he is probably the poorest preacher we have had to misfortune to listen to. He was not broadcasting from either the New Jerusalem or the old one; he was in Nicaragua (I think) speaking. This of course leads me to another question to ask this admitted antichrist — “where is the New Jerusalem??” When Jesus returns He comes back with the saints with Him from heaven. Where are they? I’m sure these are just little niggling details with which Miranda cannot be bothered, although I will submit them to his website in the hope the Word of God can be planted in the heart of whoever reads his email and God’s Spirit can use that Word to bring them to conviction and led them into the truth. This statement is followed by an even more outlandish and blasphemous declaration on the main page:

And now…The man Christ Jesus, Dr. Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda, is coming to the USA! The King of kings and Lord of lords has arrived in America! (4)

I can find absolutely no information regarding Miranda’s educational background. By his own testimony he was in jail a a teenager, well let “Jesus” explain himself:

Do Jesus’ beginning was anything but grand. Born in Puerto Rico, de Jesus grew up poor, living in government housing. H stole for a living to pay for his teenage heroin addiction and admits to eight felony charges that put him behind bars for nine months. Like many, de Jesus says he was born again in prison. From there he moved to the United States, where he became involved in church youth groups, and eventually a minister in Boston. But it was a vision, de Jesus says, that turned him from man of God to being God. (5)

My point is simply this —when did this fraud obtain the requisite education in order to earn a doctoral degree? From what I have ascertained he has not even graduated from high school, let alone progressed onto college, then after successfully completing four years of college education and then at least two more years of post-graduate work (Masters degree level, I know of where I speak) then going onto two to four years of doctoral work is not proven by him, his website or anyone else. Where and when did he become “Dr.” Miranda? Even his degree is false!! He has no problem blaspheming God by declaring that he is the King of kings and Lord of lords. As I have shown you with just a few texts, he is not even close.

Why Do People Follow Him?

The $64,000 dollar question is how does an ex-con get a million people in ove twenty nations to believe he is really the return of Jesus Christ? I believe the answer is found in three area.

First, the majority of these initial dupes come from Latin America which means they most likely come from a rather strict form of Roman Catholicism, Pentecostalism and possibly Santeria which is a form of voodoo mixed in with Roman Catholicism. In other words those following Miranda have no solid Biblical foundation. They were nominally “religious,” steeped in legalism, superstition and in many cases probably under educated. This is why being established in the truth of God’s Word is paramount. The only way to detect a lie is to know the truth. TRUTH MATTERS!

Secondly, a million plus people follow him because of what he teaches.

But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingered not, and their damnation slumbered not. 2 Peter 2:1-3

Miranda does not claim any miracle working power, no divine healing, no imparting of spiritual gifts to his followers, ergo, people must be buying into the beliefs he has set before them.

There is a possible third reason why people follow this obvious (to us) fraud and deceiver:

Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12

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In context, Paul is referring to the actual antichrist, as opposed to the “spirit of antichrist” which has beset the Church and world from the inception of the Church. However, since Miranda claims to also be the antichrist then let him take what is written about him to heart. His followers have no rue doctrinal foundation, nor when approached with the truth seem to have any openness to it, i.e. he and his followers do not love the truth. Due to their rejection of the truth of God (read Romans chapters 1-3) this allows them to believe a lie and the end result of believing a lie {regarding salvation} is damnation. I recognize that this may seem harsh, and it is, but it also demonstrates the holiness of God and the desperate need humanity has for the truth. The following is a brief synopsis of what he was offered as “doctrine” so far.

There Is No More Sin

Since Jesus died on the cross the problem of sin has been done away with. Since there is no more sin then people are free to live anyway they want (as long as they tithe to Miranda) without any concern of eternal consequence. Obviously, such a message is hugely popular to spiritually dead people who hate God, His Law and who love sin and lawlessness. Did Jesus destroy sin on the cross? Yes and no. Through the substitution atoning death of Jesus the consequence of sin and the power of sin were destroyed, but not the reality of sin. When a person comes to faith in Jesus the consequence of sin has been paid for by Jesus. His death and victorious resurrection have also freed us from the power of sin…yet sin still exists because we are still fallen people. The Apostle John states it very clearly when he says:

This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.   1 John 1:5-10

Truly we have been made the righteous of God in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17) but we still sin and thankfully we can confess our sins and our Lord is faithful and just to forgive us our sins. Anyone who proclaims a message of sinless perfection in this life or that sin does not even exist is a liar and strives to make our Lord a liar too.

What is interesting is that Miranda was asked in an interview if murder was a “sin.” He said it was not a sin, it might be a violation of man’s law and thus the person would be subject to the penalty of violating man’s law, but it was not a sin! Does anyone else see the logical disconnect in his position? If one violates the laws of man that person will face the judgment set forth by man for that broken law. Yet for some reason he fails to see (or won’t admit) that if one violates the holy law of God then that person will be held accountable to the eternal Judge who will sentence that person to eternal damnation. This is why Jesus came and died, to redeem us from the curse of the law by taking our place and receiving our punishment.

People love darkness and hate the light (read John 3:19) because their deeds are evil. Miranda’s sinless message appeals to the abundant evil in the hearts of the multitudes of the fallen.

There Is No Devil

The devil is just a mythical creation of false religious to keep people in line. I believe C.S. Lewis made the comment that the biggest trick the devil ever pulled was to get people to believe he did not exist. Logically if there is no sin and there is no devil or demons then there is no evil in the world. The Apostle Paul seemed to believe there was a literal devil:

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 Corinthians 11:13-15

Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high placesEphesians 6:11-12

Peter believed in a literal devil that was still at work in the post resurrection days of Jesus:

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: 1 Peter 5:8

James also was deceived somehow into teaching that Satan exists

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands ye sinners: and purify your hearts, ye double minded. James 4:7-8

In this text James demolishes two of Miranda’s false teachings by proclaiming that the devil exists and that sin is a reality! This is a perfect verse to keep in mind when you come across a Mirandite.

There Is No Hell

This comes as no surprise since virtually every other Bible-based cult proclaims the same lie. The Mormons do not believe in eternal damnation nor do the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Without going into great detail suffice it to say that we are warned about the reality of hell and eternal damnation if we do not place our complete trust in Jesus Christ.

There Is No Need to Pray

I assume that since Jesus Christ is here on earth there is no need to pray any longer. Even though the Apostle Paul said:

Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. 1 Thessalonians 5:17-18

For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; Colossians 1:9

It seems odd to me that an individual who initially claimed to be a reincarnation of the Apostle Paul would be so ignorant of what Paul taught. How can these things be? Our Lord gave us the “Lord’s Prayer,” which we considered last month. All the writers of the Epistles touch on prayer and yet the returned Jose says “prayer is unnecessary.” Make one want to say “hmmmmm.”

To those of us who have been brought to the true saving knowledge of Jesus Christ this man and his claims are ludicrous. Yet to a growing number of people he is being viewed as the savior. With a million followers Miranda can become very dangerous, oh not to the Church, even the gates of hell cannot prevail against the church (read Matt. 16:18), but dangerous to the masses of unsaved people we’ve yet to reach.

Jim Jones only had a few hundred and we saw the end result of following this mad man. Miranda poses the same type of threat to his followers. The question boils down to whether this man is merely a con artist who is bilking those ignorant enough to follow him, or he is really convinced he is Jesus Christ. If he really believes what he says, then he is extremely dangerous because he is delusional and psychotic which could lead him to direct his followers to harm themselves or others. This is exactly the concern amng some theologians and counter-cult experts:

Miranda esteems himself above Jesus of Nazareth, His responses during interviews are startling: “I am greater than him…I teach better than him…I won’t die. Even if you tried to kill me! I wil be president of the biggest government that this earth has experienced. I’m going to change the whole world.”

These statements are both frightening and disturbing to authorities. Daniel Alvarez received his Masters Degree in Theology from Harvard Divinity School and serves as a Florida International University religion professor. Alvarez sees Crescendio en Gracia as having all the makings of a destructive cult with Miranda fitting into the classic mold of a cult leader who requires total submission by his followers. Cult authority, Rick Ross (Rick A. Ross Institute of New Jersey), agrees the Growing in Grace fit’s the basic profile of a dangerous cult which thrives on persuasion (brainwashing) and ultimately exploitation of its members. (7)

DMI is prepared to confront him if (when) he comes to the Detroit area. We have a very large Hispanic community and he no doubt wants to tap into this “cash cow.” We may expand this article and put it into another format to hand out to people who come to hear what he has to say. If he is coming to your area, DMI will be glad to send you copies or put the file on disk so you can print it out to distribute. In any event, please pray for those who have been deceived that God’s Word may break through to them and bring them to repentance. Also pray for the Church, that we as God’s ambassador’s of reconciliation would get outside of our four walls on Sunday and begin to aggressively speak the truth in love on every occasion that presents itself to us.

Copyright © Robert S. Liichow

End Notes

1. Obtained from http://www.allabourtcults.org/jose-luis-de-jesus-miranda.htm on 3-21-07. Underlining and bold type added.

2. Ibid

3. Ibid

4. Ibid

5. Obtained from http://www.abcnews-go.com/Primetime/story?id=2925021&page=1

6. I paraphrased that comment.

7. Obtained from http://www.allaboutcults.org/jose-luis-de-jesus-miranda.htm.





The Discipline of Prayer –Part Two

17 10 2009
Truth Matters Newsletters – March 2007 – Vol. 12 Issue 3 – The Discipline of Prayer — Part Two – by Rev. Robert S. Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

The Discipline of Prayer — Part Two

By Rev. Bob Liichow

We began to consider the majesty of the Lord’s prayer last month and this month we will briefly look at the remaining six petitions given to us by Jesus in this stunningly rich prayer.

Matthew 6:9-13

 “After this manner therefore pray ye:

Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. They will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen

On the surface what Jesus gave to His disciples is a seemingly simple prayer. Yet the breath of this prayer is astoundingly wide and encompasses the entirety of man’s existence. I will be citing very heavily from Dr. Martin Luther and his commentary on the Lord’s Prayer as found in the Book of Concord. Whatever you may think about Luther. I believe you will agree that he had great insight into the Lord’s Prayer. My comments are in Blue, Luther’s are in Black.

The Second Petition

“Thy Kingdom Come”

But just as the name of God is in itself holy, and we pray nevertheless that it be holy among us, so also His Kingdom comes of itself without our prayer, yet we pray nevertheless that it may come to us, that is, prevail among us and with us, so that we may be a part of those among whom His name is hallowed and His kingdom prospers. [ Luther’s insight flies in the face of a great deal of current teaching concerning the kingdom of God in charismatic circles. It is commonly taught that we the Church, can either hasten or delay the coming of God’s kingdom. This hastening or delaying is done through either our positive or negative confessions or actions. Those who teach a brand of “Dominion Theology” say that it is up to the Church to establish the Kingdom of God on earth. This false doctrine espouses the belief that we are to Christianize every nation and then hand a restored would back to Jesus at His return. This global restoration and dominion will be allegedly led by a large number of “restored” prophets and apostles. Some of the more well know people who teach this false view include: Earl Paulk, Dr. C. Peter Wagner, Kenneth Copeland, Mike Bickle, John Paul Jones, Don Nori, Mahesh Chavda and others.]

But what is the kingdom of God? Answer: Nothing else than what we learned in the Creed, that God sent His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, into the world to redeem and deliver us from the power of the devil, and to bring us to Himself, and to govern us as a King of righteousness, life and salvation against sin, death, and an evil conscience, fro which end He has also bestowed His Holy Ghost, who is to bring these things home to us by His holy Word, and to illumine and strengthen us in the faith by His power.

Therefore we pray here in the first place that this may become effective with us, and that His name be so praised through the holy Word of God and a Christian life that both we who have accepted it may abide and daily grow therein, and that it may gain approbation and adherence among other people and proceed with power throughout the world, that many may fine entrance into the Kingdom of Grace, be made partakers of redemption, being led thereto by the Holy Ghost, in order that thus we may all together remain forever in the one kingdom now begun.

For the coming of God’s kingdom to us occurs in two ways; first, here in time through the Word and faith; and secondly, in eternity forever through revelation Now we pray for both these things, that it may come to those who are not yet in it, and by daily increase, to us who have received the same, and hereafter in eternal life. All this is nothing else than saying: Dear Father, we pray, give us first Thy Word, that the Gospel be preached properly throughout the world; and secondly, that it be received in faith, and work and live in us, so that through the Word and the power of the Holy Ghost Thy Kingdom may prevail among us, and the kingdom of the devil be put down, that he may have no right or power over us, until at last it shall be utterly destroyed, and sin, death, and hell shall be exterminated, that we may live forever in perfect righteousness and blessedness.

From this you perceive that we pray here not for a crust of bread or a temporal, perishable good, but for an eternal inestimable treasure and everything that God Himself possesses; which is far too great for any human heart to think of desiring if He had not Himself commanded us to pray for the same. But because He is God, He also claims the honor of giving much more and more abundantly than any one can comprehend, — like an eternal, unfailing fountain, which the more it pours forth and overflows, the more it continues to give, — and He desires nothing more earnestly of us than that we ask much and great things of Him, and again is angry if we do not ask and pray confidently.

The Third Petition

“They Will Be Done On Earth As It Is In Heaven”

Thus far we have prayed that God’s name be honored by us, and that His kingdom prevail among us; in which two points is comprehended all that pertains to the honor of God and to our salvation, that we receive as our own God and all His riches. But now a need just as great arises, namely, that we firmly keep them, and do not suffer ourselves to be torn there from.

For no one believes how the devil opposes and resists them, and cannot suffer that any one teach or believe aright. And it hurts him beyond measure to suffer his lies and abominations, that have been honored under the most specious pretexts of the divine name, to be exposed and to be disgraced himself, and besides, be driven out of the heart, and suffer such a breach to be made in his kingdom. Therefore he chafes and rages as a fierce enemy with all his power and might, and marshals all his subjects and, in addition enlists the world and our own flesh as his allies.

If we would be Christians, therefore, we must surely expect and reckon upon having the devil with all his angels and the world as our enemies, who will bring every possible misfortune and grief upon us. For where the Word of God is preached, accepted, or believed, and produces fruit, there the holy cross cannot be wanting. And let no one think that he shall have peace; but he must risk what whatever he has upon earth — possessions, honor, house and estate, wife and children, body and life.

[ Luther taught salvation by grace through faith alone, but it was not a cheap grace, nor was it a faith that does not produce works. Many today hold only to a theology of glory and cannot accept the reality of the theology of the cross. The early evangelicals understood that they would have to suffer attacks fro their stance on the Gospel. Consider well what Luther says here in light of the teachings of Joel Osteen, Paula White or Jesse Duplantis.]

Hence there is just as great a need, as in all the others, that we pray without ceasing: “Dear Father, Thy will be done, not the will of the devil and of our enemies, nor of anything that would persecute and suppress Thy holy Word or hinder Thy kingdom; and grant that we may bear with patience and overcome whatever is to be endured on that account, lest our poor flesh yield or fall away from weakness or sluggishness.”

Behold, thus we have in these three petitions, in the simplest manner, the need which relates to God Himself, yet all for our sakes. For whatever we pray concerns only us, namely, as we have said, that what must be done anyway without us, may also be done in us. For as His name must be hallowed and His kingdom come without our prayer, so also His will must be done and succeed although the devil with all his adherents raise a great tumult, are angry and rage against it, and undertake to exterminate the Gospel utterly. But for our own sakes we must pray that even against their fury His will be done without hindrance also among us, that they may not be able to accomplish anything and we remain firm against all violence and persecution, and submit to such will of God.

Such prayer, then, is to be our protection and defense now, is to repel and put down all that the devil, Pope, bishops, tyrants, and heretics can do against our Gospel. Let them all rage and attempt their utmost, and deliberate and resolve how they may suppress and exterminate us, that their will and counsel may prevail: over and against this one or two Christians with this petition alone shall be our wall against which they shall run and dash themselves to pieces. This consolation and confidence we have, that the will and purpose of the devil and of all our enemies shall and must fail and come to naught, however, proud, secure, and powerful they know themselves to be. For if their will were not broken and hindered, the kingdom of God could not abide on earth nor His name be hallowed.

The Fourth Petition

“Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread”

[In this petition I want to draw your attention to how marvelously Luther expands this simple petition to encompass every aspect that of life that goes into God providing for us daily bread. Also not how Luther often mentions the negative aspect which are wrapped up in our prayer to our heavenly Father].

Here, now, we consider the poor breadbasket, the necessaries of our body and of the temporal life. It is a brief and simple word, but it has a very wide scope. For when you mention and pray for daily bread, you pray for everything that is necessary in order to have and enjoy daily bread and, on the other hand, against everything which interferes with it. Therefore you must open wide and extend your thoughts not only to the oven or the flour-bin but to the distant field and the entire land, which bears and brings to us daily bread and every sort of sustenance. For if God did not cause it to grow, and bless and preserve it in the field, we could never take bread from the oven or have any to set upon the table.

To comprise it briefly, this petition includes everything that belongs to our entire life in the world, because on that account alone do we need daily bread. Now for our life it is not only necessary that our body have food and covering and other necessaries, but also that we spend our days in peace and quiet among the people with whom we live and have intercourse in daily business and conversation and all sorts of doings, in short, whatever pertains both to the domestic and to the neighborly or civil relation and government. For where these two things are hindered [intercepted and disturbed] that they do not proper as they ought, the necessaries of life also are impeded, so that ultimately life cannot be maintained. And there is, indeed, the greatest need to pray for temporal authority and government, as that by which most of all God preserves to us our daily bread and all the comforts of this life. For though we have received of God all good things in abundance we are not able to retain any of them or use them in security and happiness, if He did not give us a permanent and peaceful government. For where there are dissension, strife, and war, there the daily bread is already taken away, or at least checked.

Let this be a very brief explanation and sketch, showing how far this petition extends through all conditions on earth. Of this any one might indeed make a long prayer, and with many words enumerate all the things that are included therein, as that we pray God to give us food and drink, clothing, house, and home, and health of body; also that He cause the grain and fruits of the field to grow and mature well; furthermore, that He help us at home towards good housekeeping, that He give and preserve to us a godly wife, children, and servants, that He cause our work, trade, or whatever we are engaged in to prosper and succeed, favor us with faithful neighbors and good friends, etc. Likewise, that He give to emperors, Kings, and all estates, and especially to the rulers, of our country and to all counselors, magistrates, and officers, wisdom, strength, and success that they may govern well and vanquish the Turks and all enemies; to subjects and the common people, obedience, peace, and harmony in their life with one another, and on the other hand, that He would reserve us from all sorts of calamity to body and livelihood, as lightning, hail, fire, flood, poison, pestilence, castle-plague, war and bloodshed, famine, destructive beasts, wicked men, etc. All this it is well to impress upon the simple, namely, that these things come from God, and must be prayed for by us.

But this petition is especially directed also against our chief enemy, the devil. For all his thought and desire is to deprive us of all that we have from God, or to hinder it; and he is not satisfied to obstruct and destroy spiritual government in leading souls astray by his lies and bringing them under his power, but he also prevents and hinders the stability of all government and honorable, peaceable relations on earth. There he causes so much contention, murder, sedition, and war also lightning and hail to destroy grain and cattle, to poison the air, etc. In short, he is sorry that any one has a morsel of bread from God and eats it in peace; and if it were in his power, and our prayer (next to God) did not prevent him, we would not keep a straw in the field, a farthing in the house, yea, not even our life for an hour, especially those who have the Word of God and would like to be Christians.

Behold, thus God wishes to indicate to us how He cares for us in all our need, and faithfully provides also for our temporal support. Although He abundantly grants and preserves these things even to the wicked and knaves, yet He wishes that we pray for them, in order that we may recognize that we receive them from His had, and may feel His paternal goodness toward us therein.

The Fifth Petition

“And Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.”

This part now relates to our poor miserable life, which although we have and believe the Word of God, and do and submit to His will, and are supported by His gifts and blessings is nevertheless not without sin. For we still stumble daily and transgress because we live in the world among men who do us much harm and give us cause for impatience, anger, revenge, etc. Besides, we have Satan at our back, who sets upon us on every side, and fights (as we have heard) against all the foregoing petitions, so that it is not possible always to stand firm in such a persistent conflict.

[This insight regarding our sinfulness is also rejected by many in the Church today. Among the charismatic and the so-called modern evangelical community is a negation of the reality of sin. Either some form of incipient perfectionism is taught {which gained a foothold in the Church today through that damnable heretic Charles Finney} or sin is simply not preached about because it is a “negative” confession. Luther correctly understood what it meant to be declared righteous in the sight of God and that our righteousness is in fact an alien righteousness, one that is reckoned to our account due to the work of Christ. Many, especially within the word of Faith cult, teach that the Christian actually becomes righteous and can attain sinless perfection in this life.]

Therefore there is here again great need to call upon God and to pray: Dear Father, forgive us our trespasses. Not as though He did not forgive sin without and ever before our prayer (for He has given us the Gospel, in which is pure forgiveness before we prayed or ever thought about it). But this is to the intent that we may recognize and accept such forgiveness. For since the flesh in which we daily live is of such a nature that it neither trusts nor believes God, and is ever active in evil and omission by which the conscience is thrown into unrest, so that it is afraid of the wrath and displeasure of God, and thus loses the comfort and confidence derived from the Gospel; therefore it is ceaselessly necessary that we run hither and obtain consolation to comfort the conscience again.

But this should serve God’s purpose of breaking our pride and keeping us humble. For in case any one should boast of his godliness and despise others, God has reserved this prerogative to Himself, that the person is to consider himself and place this prayer before his eyes, and he will find that he is no better than others, and that in the presence of God all must lower their plumes, and be glad that they can attain forgiveness. And let no one think that as long as we live here he can reach such a position that he will not need such forgiveness. In short, if God does not forgive without ceasing, we are lost.

It is therefore the intent of this petition that God would not regard our sins and hold up to us what we daily deserve, but would deal graciously with us, and forgive, as He has promised, and thus grant us a joyful and confident conscience to stand before Him in prayer. For where the heart is not in right relation towards God, nor can take such confidence, it will nevermore venture to pray. But such a confident and joyful heart can spring from nothing else than the [certain] knowledge of the forgiveness of sin.

But there is here attached a necessary, yet consolatory addition: As we forgive. He has promised that we shall be sure that everything is forgiven and pardoned, yet in the manner that we also forgive our neighbor. For just as we daily sin much against God and ye He forgives everything through grace, so we, too, must ever forgive our neighbor who does us injury, violence, and wrong, shows malice toward us, etc. If, therefore you do not forgive, then do not think that God forgives you; but if you forgive, you have this consolation and assurance, that you are forgiven in heaven, not on account of your forgiving, — for God forgives freely and without condition out of pure grace, because He has so promised, as the Gospel teaches, — but in order that He may set this up for our confirmation and assurance for a sign alongside of the promise which accords with this prayer, Luke 6:37: Forgive, and ye shall be forgiven. Therefore Christ also repeats it soon after the Lord’s Prayer, and says, Matt 6,14: For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, etc.

The Sixth Petition

“And Lead us not into temptation”

We have now heard enough what toil and labor is required to retain all that for which we pray, and to persevere therein, which, however, is not achieved without infirmities and stumbling. Besides, although we have received forgiveness and a good conscience and are entirely acquitted, yet is our life of such a nature that one stands today, and to-morrow falls. Therefore, even though we be godly now and stand before God with a good conscience, we must pray again that He would not suffer us to relapse and yield to trials and temptations.

Temptation, however, or (as our Saxons in olden times used to call it) Bekoerunge, is of three kinds, namely, of the flesh, of the world, and of the devil. For in the flesh we dwell and carry the old Adam about our neck, who exerts himself and incites us daily to in chastity, laziness, gluttony and drunkenness, avarice and deception, to defraud our neighbor and to overcharge him, and, in short, to all manner of evil lusts which cleave to us be nature, and to which we are incited by the society, example and what we hear and see of other people, which often would and inflame even an innocent heart.

Next comes the world, which offends us in word and deed, and impels us to anger and impatience. In short, there is nothing but hatred and envy, enmity, violence and wrong, unfaithfulness, vengeance, cursing, raillery slander, pride and haughtiness, with superfluous finery, honor, fame, and power, where no one is willing to be the least, but every one desires to sit at the head and to be seen before all.

Then comes the devil, inciting and provoking in all directions, but especially agitating matters that concern the conscience and spiritual affairs, namely, to induce us to despise and disregard both the Word and works of God to tear us away from faith, hope and love and bring us into misbelief, false security, and obduracy, or, on the other hand, to despair, denial of God, blasphemy, and innumerable other shocking things. These are indeed snares and nets, yea, real fiery darts which are shot most venomously into the heart, not by flesh and blood, but by the devil.

Great and grievous, indeed, are these dangers and temptations which every Christian must bear, even though each one were alone by himself, so that every hour that we are in this vile life where we are attacked on all side, chased and hunted down, we are moved to cry out and to pray that God would not suffer us to become weary and faint and to relapses into sin, shame, and unbelief. For otherwise it is impossible to overcome even the least temptation.

This, then is leading us not into temptation, to wit, when He gives us power and strength to resist, the temptation, however, not being taken away or removed. For while we live in the flesh and have the devil about us, no one can escape temptation and allurements; and it cannot be otherwise than that we must endure trials, yea, he engulfed in them; but we pray for this, that we may not fall and be drowned in them.

Therefore we Christians must be armed and daily expect to be incessantly attacked, in order that no one may go on in security and heedlessly, as though the devil were far from us, but at all times expect and parry his blows. For though I am now chaste, patient, kind, and in firm faith, the devil will this very hour send such an arrow into my heart that I can scarcely stand. For he is an enemy that never desists nor becomes tired, so that when one temptation ceases, there always arise others and fresh ones.

Accordingly, there is no help or comfort except to run hither and to take hold of the Lord’s Prayer, and thus speak to God from the heart: Dear Father, Thou hast bidden me pray; let me not relapse because of temptations. Then you will see that they must desist, and finally acknowledge themselves conquered. Else if you venture to help yourself by your own thoughts and counsel, you will only make the matter worse and give the devil more space. For he has a serpent’s head, which if it gain an opening into which he can slip, the whole body will follow without check. But prayer can prevent him and drive him back.

The Seventh Petition

“But Deliver Us From Evil”

In the Greek text this petition reads thus: Deliver or preserve us from the Evil One, or the Malicious One; and it looks as if He were speaking of the devil, as though He would comprehend everything in one so that the entire substance of all our prayer is directed against our chief enemy. For it is he who hinders among us everything that we pray for the name or honor of God, God’s kingdom and will, our daily bread, a cheerful good conscience, etc.

Therefore we finally sum it all up and say; Dear Father pray, help that we be rid of all these calamities. But there is nevertheless also included whatever evil may happen to us under the devil’s kingdom –poverty, shame, death, and in short, all the agonizing misery and heartache of which there is such an unnumbered multitude on the earth. For since the devil is not only a lair, but also a murderer, he constantly seeks our life, and wreaks his anger whenever he can afflict our bodies with misfortune and harm. Hence it comes that he often breaks men’s necks or drives them to insanity, drowns some, and incites many to commit suicide, and to many other terrible calamities. Therefore, there is nothing for us to do upon earth but to pray against this arch enemy without ceasing. For unless God preserved us, we would not be safe from him even for an hour.

Hence you see again how God wishes us to pray to Him also for all the things which affect our bodily interests, so that we seek and expect help nowhere else except in Him. But this matter He has put last; for if we are to be preserved and delivered from all evil, the name of God must first be hallowed in us, His kingdom must be with us, and His will be done. After that He will finally preserve us from sin and shame, and besides, from everything that may hurt or injure us.

Thus God has briefly placed before us all the distress which may ever come upon us, so that we might have no excuse whatever for not praying. But all depends upon this, that we learn also to say Amen, that is, that we do not doubt that our prayer is surely heard and [what we pray] shall be done. For this is nothing else than the word of undoubting faith, which does not pray at a venture, but knows that God does not lie to him, since He has promised to grant it. Therefore, where there is no such faith, there cannot be ture prayer either.

It is, therefore, a pernicious delusion of those who pray in such a manner that they dare not from the heart say yea and positively conclude that God hears them, but remain in doubt and say, How should I be so bold as to boast that God hears my prayer? For I am but a poor sinner, etc.

The reason for this is, they regard not the promise of God, but their own work and worthiness, whereby they despise God and reproach Him with lying, and therefore they receive nothing. As St. James says [1,6]: But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering; for he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea, driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive anything of the Lord. Behold, such importance God attaches to the fact that we are sure we do not pray in vain, and that we do not in any way despise our prayer.

I believe it is possible to spend many months mediating on this prayer and all its ramifications and Dr. Luther’s insights have certainly broadened my understanding and increased my appreciation of the Lord’s Prayer. Now during our Sunday services when we as a congregation pray the Lord’s Prayer it mean so much more to me and I hope that this brief exposition on it gie you a solid foundation upon which to build a rich life of prayer.

End Notes

1. Luther, Martin The Book of Concord, This text was prepared by Allen Mulvey for Project Wittenberg. The entire text is in the public domain and can be downloaded or read in its entirely at http://www.icinet.org/pub/resources/text/wittenberg/luther/catechism/web/cat-12.html.

2. Ibid.

3. Ibid