What Profit Are Today’s Prophets?

1 07 2011
Truth Matters Newsletters – June 2011 – Vol. 16 Issue 6 – What Profit Are Today’s Prophets? – By Rev. Robert Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

What Profit Are Today’s Prophets?

Rev. Bob Liichow

Some people might say “what’s the big deal brother Bob? There have always been crooks in the Church so just ignore them.” Sadly, this attitude is mirrored throughout the Church today which helps to explain some of the reasons why the Body of Christ is in such sad shape today. It is the same attitude that slams the door shut in the face of Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons usually ending in a “God bless you” from the believer. Christians who respond like this are effectively saying “go to hell” because that is surely where those folks are headed unless someone shares the Gospel with them, thus giving the Holy Spirit an avenue to convict and draw them to faith if He so chooses.

Every genuinely redeemed person is an ambassador for the Kingdom of God (1 Cor. 5:19) Growing up in a Diplomatic family (1) I have a pretty good concept of what the Apostle Paul meant by calling us ambassadors of the Kingdom. God vocalizes His appeal to the entire world via His people (The Holy Spirit speaks through His text to us). The Father uses the totally unique love that only we are empowered (Romans 5:5)  to share with one another (John 13:35) to demonstrate our true discipleship. He uses the foolishness of preaching (1Cor.1:21) and as His ambassadors/ministers/servants/disciples we open our mouths to evangelize. It is the Father who speaks (Matt. 10:20) through us by His Spirit.

As ambassadors for our Lord, we bring the Law, what God commands and demands of His people — the law that terrifies the conscious and brings despair to the soul driving individuals to flee to the solace of the Gospel! We then proclaim the glorious good news that our brother (Heb. 2:11) Jesus Christ, God the Son has come in the flesh and fulfilled all of the Father’s law on our behalf. Jesus died bearing all the sin of humanity on the cross; He was buried and rose physically from the dead three days later and ascended into heaven and He has promised to return for us again. Until that time, we serve as His representatives and we are the only “Jesus” the world will see, and trust me when I say — the world is watching your life.

The above brings us back to the point — it matters tremendously what people do and say in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. I must admit I live in a pretty black-and-white world when it comes to doctrine and to me either someone is gathering or scattering, there is no middle ground (Luke 11:23), one is genuinely for Christ or he is against Him, it is just that simple.

To Christians the Bible is accepted as the only valid written revelation from God to man. This being the case when someone teaches something from the Bible that teaching has behind it the backing authority of the Creator of all existence. False teaching that is spawned from twisting biblical texts and is exceedingly dangerous because a percentage of gullible, biblically ignorant sheep will automatically follow the latest novel teaching (2 Tim 4:3) because they lack the tools to rightly discern truth from error, i.e. a solid doctrinal foundation. Also these novel teachings all appeal directly to the fallen flesh of man. The fallback argument of the false teacher is “it’s in the Bible.”

False prophets are equally as dangerous as false teachers; please never forget that there is no such thing as innocuous false teaching. The false prophet takes upon themselves authority that exceeds that of the false teacher. The false prophet (hereafter referred to at times as “profit”) calls upon the name of the Author of the Holy Scriptures as the direct source of their information and insight. When a person stands up in an assembly and gives a stirring word and ends it in “I, Jesus have spoken by my servant,” or “thus saith the Lord,” you have the attention of the listeners. If you can add some form of sign or wonder to accompany the revelation given one is almost guaranteed great financial wealth and a following of God’s gullibles.

Last month DMI presented a brief overview of how a few deluded souls became a movement in the late 1940’s that has developed over forty years into a distinct sect (2) within the professing Church and even within the rather diverse unbrella we call the charismatic movement. (3) The Church went from a handful of men claiming to be restored prophets in the forties to today where now throughout the globe are “schools of the prophets.” The majority of which these schools can be traced back to the disciples of the post WWII profits. Today the Church and the millions of sign-gift believers are being besieged by a myriad of men and women, all of whom claim to be hearing from God on our behalf both personally and for the entire Church and at times the entire world itself!

Ladies First

The prophetic movement has proven to be an estrogen-rich breeding ground for women seeking the spotlight as prophets. In the past, within some branches of the charismatic renewal, women were not allowed to serve as pastors, but when it came to prophetesses these sign-seekers had to admit that there were several in the Bible so they had to begrudgingly admit women prophets into the public assemblies.

This is not strange, after all Church history is filled with examples of pseudo-prophets in feminine guise. Montanus (4) whom we have designated as the Father (5) of charismatic extremism had the first two recorded restored prophetesses to the Church, namely Prisca and Maximilla. The following is recorded about these ladies:

His prophesying were soon outdone by two female disciples, Prisca or Priscilla and Maximilla, who fell into strange ecstasies, delivering in them what Montanus and his followers regarded as divine prophecies. They had been married, left their husbands, were given by Montanus the rank of virgins in the church, and were widely reverenced as prophetesses. But very different was the sober judgment formed of them by some of the neighboring bishops. Phrygia was a country in which heathen devotion exhibited itself in the most fanatical form and it seemed to calm observers that the frenzied utterances of the Montanistic prophetesses were far less like any previous manifestation of the prophetic gift among Christians than they were to those heathen orgiasms which the church had been wont to ascribe to the operation of demons. The church party looked on the Montanists as willfully despising our Lord’s warning to beware of false prophets, and as being in consequence deluded by Satan, in whose power they placed themselves by accepting as divine teachers women possessed by evil spirits. (6)

Widely popular for a while, Montanus was a revivalist of a sorts, taught a strict form of legalism which the flesh always loves and he gained two women disciples who left their husbands became “virgins” again and on top of that became pipelines from heaven. The rest of the orthodox Church decried Montanus and his prophetesses. Eventually the movement died out with the death of his prophetesses, according to Eusebius of Caesarea quoting Apollinarius of Hierapolis both of these frenzied liars hung themselves after the manner of Judas Iscariot. (7)   Another writer who wrote of these women said:

Montanus was dead, as was Theodotus, an early leader in the movement, who had probably managed its finances, for he is said to have been towards it a kind of ettipottos. The Anonymous states that at the time he wrote 13 full years had elapsed and a 14th had begun since the death of Maximilla. Priscilla must have died previously for Maximilla believed herself to be the last prophetess in the church and that after her the end would come. (8)

The end did not come with her demise, (nor did it arrive when Mr. Camping announced again that it would). The centuries roll on and we come along another self-proclaimed female prophetess, Mrs. Ann Lee of England comes along. She was an early “Pentecostal” revivalist and visionary. I have written extensively about Ann Lee and her impact on today’s Signs and Wonders Movement.

A Moment of Shameless Self-Promotion   For a copy of the book (It really is a fascinating history of today’s enthusiasta and also very disturbing) Just send a check to DMI for $20.00 and receive a signed copy of “Blessing or Judgment?” (Revised from: Two Roots of Today’s Revival)  Please memo your check “book”

Ann Lee is certainly the first restored neo-Montanist prophetess in America and she opened the floodgates for much of the extremism which is so rampant today. Her organization, “The United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing.” aka The Shakers were the first in America to (1) speak in other tongues; (2) experience so-called holy laughter; (3) spiritual drunkenness; (4) making animal sounds and expressions; (5) barking; (6) being slain in the spirit; (7) impart gifts by the laying on of hands; (8) led revival meetings and (9) giving verbal prophetic words from “God,” along with other expressions of spiritual excess commonly seen and experienced by hundreds of thousands of professing believers today.

The vast majority have no idea that what they are experiencing and inviting into their spiritual lives during their meetings comes directly from a demonic cult established here before our revolutionary war.

Ann Lee was only the first of many women to impact the spiritual lives of the multitudes. Since her advent the Church has suffered through Mary Baker Eddy, founder of the Church of Christ Science (Christian Science) and first published her book Science and Heath With Keys to the Scriptures in 1875. (9) Although Eddy did not refer to herself as a “prophet” she did see her role as one restoring true religion. Ellen G. White along with her husband founded the Seventh Day Adventist cult and first reported having visions early in 1844. She is regarded as a prophetess by SDA members and her organization has led many astray into severe legalistic bondage.

Whatever stance one wishes to take regarding the role of women in ministry, history is replete with examples of how women can be used to spiritually influence large numbers of people and impact culture and the Church.

Without getting too off track let me condense Church history regarding the role of women into a few sentences and move on: Women have held no official role in the holy ministry, i.e. pastoral oversight of congregations for close to 1,600+ years across the denominational board. There have been minor exceptions, obviously, but nothing really sanctioned until round the time of the Wesley brothers, Charles and John (started Methodist movement around the mid 1700’s about the same time as Ann Lee was working in the USA).

It was with the coming of Methodism to America, women began to take on more active roles in these new frontier congregations. As Methodism took root in the US it developed offshoots the main one being the Holiness movement and from them eventually came Pentecostalism. During the Great Depression Aimee Semple McPherson rose from obscurity within Pentecostalism and became America’s first mega-church pastor and broadcast genius raking in millions of dollars. Sadly, she died with a tarnished reputation being caught as an adulterous and dying of a barbiturate overdose. Nonetheless, sister Aimee opened many formerly shut doors to other women to walk through including the charismatic mega-star Kathryn Kuhlman who almost single-handedly popularized the phenomena of being slain in the spirit by televising her healing crusades. The fraud, liar, SINister, and false prophet Mr. Benny Hinn sites Kuhlman as one of his main influences and he visits both her grave and McPherson’s to gain spiritual power (I kid you not.)   (10)

By the time Kathryn was on television (Believe In Miracles) in the late 60’s and early 70’s the floodgates for women’s equality in ministry with men was a fait accompli within the charismatic movement and many of its sub-camps. (11) Many of the movers-and-shakers (no pun intended) within charismania are women who are internationally recognized as prophetesses and they are having a huge impact on the lives of many of God’s gullible. (12) For the remainder of this article I will be exposing some of the members in their high powered skulk. (13)

Bonnie Chavda

I have not personally encountered Mrs. Chavda in action. I have sat under her husband’s ministry, even got slain in the spirit. (14) by Mahesh back in the early 1990’s. As often is the case in public charismatic ministry you will find the wives either ministering equally with their husbands or leading them, such as Joyce Meyer who leads and her husband takes care of the off-stage work. Gloria Copeland preaches and teaches along her husband Kenneth’s side (actually she is a better teacher than Kenny). Another famous example would be Marilyn Hickey, whose husband Wally is (was) an Assemblies of God pastor. No charismatic can ever forget Charles and Francis Hunter, the “Happy Hunters” who tag-teamed preached and healed across the globe for forty plus years. Even so we have the Chavdas, and who exactly are they?

With over three miracle-packed decades of experience, Mahesh and Bonnie Chavda lead Chavda Ministries international, a worldwide apostolic ministry. The vision of CMI is to proclaim Christ’s kingdom with power, equip believers for ministry and usher in revival preparing for the return of the Lord. (15)

I underlined the code words which I will attempt to unpack for you. Miracles are God’s calling cards has been the clarion call of the prophetic movement for many years now. Folks, please get this if nothing else from this issuemiracles do not create faith. Israel experienced DAILY miracles for forty years in the desert and DIED IN UNBELIEF. The premise that miracles are the method by which God draws and converts the lost is not shown in the Bible. It is a false premise. Thirty years of miracles? Ok, Bonnie where is the proof? This web site is not filled with x-rays, doctor’s affidavits, independent witness testimony of miracles. At best we have anecdotal stories from either the Chavdas (let another man praise you Prov. 27:2) themselves or unidentifiable individual reports. Next we read Mahesh and Bonnie are an “apostolic” team. When were there any female apostles? Sorry dear sisters, there were not any. Also who called them to be apostles? Where is the fruit of their apostleship?

There job is to equip, i.e. impart spiritual gifts & power to believers so these empowered believers can go forth and become tools of God to usher in a global revival which MUST COME first. After this preparatory work of Christianizing the world is done then Jesus Christ can return. This according to sign-gift theology is the role of today’s restored apostle and prophet/prophetess. Jesus cannot return until the Church again embraces their ministries (apostolic/prophetic). They base this belief on the following text (there are others too):

Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that you sins may be blotted out when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord. And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began. Acts 3:19-21

Since their role is pivotal in the return of Jesus it is only natural that they do all that is in their power to get the Church in agreement with them to hasten the return of Jesus. This is where the prophetic movement gets very bizarre and possibly dangerous. Let’s allow God through Bonnie to warn the Church in a vision she received in 1995:

In the vision, I was standing on a land map of the USA. The states stretched out from me in front and behind. I was facing west and above me, from horizon to horizon, was a ceiling of very thick, black, angry, clouds. Their appearance was that of an approaching terrible storm. In one place, there was an opening in the clouds. There, rays of very bright sunlight shown through. Seeing this, I understood that a spiritual storm was imminent, and that in the wake of this storm, hope, peace, and joy, would shine from heaven. I heard a voice say, “This is the refreshing: IT WILL BE VERY VIOLENT” (16)

In 1995 Bonnie warned the Church and the world what the next great time of refreshing would be like. She profalied (17) this during the height of the Holy Laughter Revival that a spiritual storm was imminent (uh, Bonnie, we’re still waiting) and of all the oxymoronic language we are told that “this is the refreshing—it will be very violent.” How refreshing is violence?

As I watched, a series of scenes from the movie adaptation of the American classic by L. Frank Baum, the “Wizard of Oz” passed before me. With each picture a voice described things that will take place as this coming “wind” moved over the land. I understood that it will not be sinners, false religions, or even political institutions, including the media, that will most vehemently question and oppose the coming “wind”. It will be institutions of Christian tradition and influence, including those who claim the “fullness of the Spirit.” (19)

Surprise of surprises it will not be the world that “hates” you (Jesus or the translators must have erred in John 15:8). False religions and polities will not be the forces questioning and opposing this latest move of God. Who will it be? It will be institutional Christianity (i.e. orthodox), Christian traditions and influence, and yup even some who claim to be filled with the Spirit (i.e. some Pentecostal types). Please note the separation between Church institution/tradition and the Spirit-filled folk. Never forget in the eyes of sign-gift enthusiasts you are a low-wattage, barely saved, spiritually weak and out of step with God. The entire movement, and sadly, much of the Church is driven with elitism, and it is always a stench.

…the Lord said, “There will be those who will call this wind “demonic” because of what it will make manifest. Demons will be stirred up, the flesh will he made obvious, things formerly hidden will be exposed and seen as they are in relation to My Spirit: BUT THIS WIND IS FROM ME?” (20)

Over the years Tracy and I have sat and heard myriads of flakes come into meetings and spout stirring messages, many of which contained provisos to cover any question of the message or the messenger. We see this tactic in Bonnie’s drivel—”there will be those who…” those folks include anyone who does not swallow-and-follow the restored apostle and/or prophet.

Please understand that these are not nice sweet folk theologically speaking. (21) If they perceive you as a genuine threat they will decry you publicly, pray for your ruin, prophesy your downfall, pray the Lord to kill you. I have heard men and women do all of the above in the name of Jesus. What is more I and this prtion of Christ’s ministry has been a recipient of hate-filled ugly prophetic words because (1) we left charismania and (2) because we cared enough to reveal the truth about what goes on behind closed “ministry” SINistry doors. Kenneth Hagin is well known for sharing about how God killed some folks who spoke against him. (22) Remember the false pathetic word delivered by Pastor Kilpatrick against Hank Hanegraaff in 1997 because Hank declared Pensacola to be a delusion (Hank was right on that one).

Rick Joyner, one of the pathetic movements premier prophetic voices allegedly received a vision about the end times (naturally) and guess who was shown to be taken captive by demonic spirits, chained, and covered in feces—you guessed it, people like you and me; normal conservative, confessional Christians. Who was leading and winning the spiritual battle? Why the super-empowered apostles and prophets and those who embraced their restoration message of present day truths! (23)

Bonnie in her absurd vision, which has not taken place, so much for imminent; she takes the usual approach of denouncing those in the Church who cling to the Bible as their guide for faith and practice. All you have to do is go online and read some of her prophetic utterances and those of any so-called restored prophetic voice and you will read an eerie similarity when it comes to the historic Church and its role (which is over by the way).

The witch was intent on killing Toto, destroying Dorothy, and enslaving the inhabitants of the land of Oz. The Holy Spirit said, “Do you know who I am in this picture?” Though this would certainly offend the religious and surprised me, the Lord said, “I am ‘Toto’- just like Toto is Dorothy’s constant comforter, friend, protector, and guide, I am with you!” Witchcraft wants to control the Holy Spirit and put God in a box! Miss Gulch is a picture of the spirit of witchcraft working through the arm of the flesh and legalism to “manage” define, and ultimately resist God through religious tradition and control. This spirit hates the anointing and God’s anointed ones because they are like the “wind.” You don’t know where it comes from or where it goes; you cannot trap the wind! The Holy Spirit, who is God Almighty and resident Lord of the church, but who, in utter humility will never exalt or impose Himself, will come only where He is recognized welcomed, and loved. He will be resisted and spurned by those who have not known Him intimately but have only known of Him by theological definition…The Lord said, The spirit of religion will refuse My army and resist their entrance to and possession of the resources of their kingdom. ( 24)

Those of us who believe, confess and preach the sole sufficiency of Scripture are really the ones who hate the Holy Spirit and His moves among His people and the earth. We who dare to measure what is taught and practiced by the light of contextual holy verse are somehow the ones who are against God! These folks have forgotten the example seen in the Book of Acts, their favorite:

These were more noble then those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. Acts 17:11

The Berean Christians were acknowledged by Paul as more “noble” than the swallow-and-follow believers in Thessalonica. Why? The Bereans received the Word from Paul, but then checked the Scriptures daily to make sure what Paul was teaching was biblically correct. This implies that the Bereans had the skills necessary to rightly divide the Word of God as Paul delivered it to them, i.e. they had a solid hermeneutical template to work from. How many of us can say this today?

Another facet of many of these prophetic words is the admonition to go within the historic congregation and evangelistically pull people out from the local church via small home Bible studies (I am not against them with proper pastoral oversight), taking people to seminars, meetings, crusades. Historic churches are specifically targeted for mailing campaigns for massive youth meetings with Christian rock groups and spiritually super-charged speakers who can’t wait to IMPART something to your kids.

These kids often come back from these highly emotional super spiritual environment no longer satisfied with church as usual.  Blaring speakers, banner waving, hand clapping, dancing in the aisles makes a traditional church service seem boring and out of touch. There are many testimonies from pastors about how the “new wave” or “Pensacola fire” destroyed or divided their formerly peaceful congregation.

Next month DMI will continue this short series on the prophetic/pathetic movement and the devastation it is causing in the spiritual lives of many people.

Copyright © Robert S. Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

END NOTES

1. My father served for a period of time as Assistant Army Attaché and we lived in the American Embassy in Moscow during the height of the cold war with the USSR, (exciting times for a kid to be sure). My family held and attended various diplomatic functions which included foreign ambassadors, military leaders, etc…I was taught manners by my parents at a young age so as not to commit some social blunder.

2. As late as the 1970’s there were distinct lines doctrinally that denoted The Discipleship Movement from the Word of Faith Movement from the mainline Pentecostals and then came the Prophetic Movement which gave birth to the Apostolic Movement both of which cohabited and birthed the Signs and Wonders Movement. Today there is a great syncretism taking place where all of these movements are flowing together losing much of their former doctrinal distinctive.

3. I really do hate referring to sign-gift advocates as “charismatic” because ALL Christians are charismatic, we ALL have been gifted by the Holy Spirit, not just a few anointed folks.

4. Montanus, the Father of Charismatic Extremism is one of DMI’s privately published works, this is one of the few books written about the father of today’s extremism. Rev. Liichow has coined the term “neo-Montanism” to refer to today’s sign-and-wonders movement. If you would like to purchase as edition of the booklet please contact DMI.

5. Even though I worship among godly men whom accept the title “father” I REFUSE to use it or accept it when applied to me, i.e. I always correct the one calling me father. Why? Because to do so VIOLATES the CLEAR TEACHING of Jesus—Matthew 23:9 says “And call no (man) your father upon the earth for one is your Father, which is in heaven.” I do not care what Church tradition is, Jesus said CALL NO MAN your father upon earth. There is no other way to parse that verse. Either God’s Word is final authority or it is not (remember, gather or scatter?). Those who do violate the scriptures and are in error and should stop the practice.

6. Obtained from http://www.ccel.org/ccel/wace/biodict.toc.html?term=montanus underlining and highlights added for emphasis by the author.

7. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Montanism,  obtained on 06-06-11

8. Obtained from http://www.ccel.org/ccel/wace/biodict.toc.html?term=montanus Underlining added for emphasis.

9. Obtained from http://en-wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Baker_Eddy . DMI has a large selection of her cults books in our archive.

10. Visit my fellow truth-tellers at Personal Freedom Outreach they have an excellent article on Hinn’s necromancy at http://www.pfo.org/bhnecro.htm

11. By the late 60’s early 70’s within “charismania” we had pretty well established sub groups including: (1) The Discipleship movement with Derrick Prince, Ern Baxter and others (2) The Word of Faith movement led by Kenneth Hagin initially soon to be cloned by sycophants like Buddy Harrison, Copeland, Price, and others. (3) The Jesus People movement more or less dribbled into forms of discipleship. Against these stood classic Pentecostalism, the Assemblies of God, The Church of God in Christ, Pentecostal Assemblies of the World, etc.

12. I know there was no word “gullibles” until I scribed it. God’s gullibles are Christian people who are doctrinally ignorant and thus pray to those pandering the raccid balm of false doctrine which infects and sickens the sheep.

13. A skulk is a group of foxes, and these women are sly to say the least.

14. DMI has one of the few books in publication on the phenomena of being slain in the spirit. “ Every thing You Always Wanted to Know About Being Slain In the Spirit” * (But were afraid to ask) can be purchased with a donation of $12.00 to DMI {please make sure we know it is for this book}.

15. Obtained from: http://www.chavdaministries.org/Groups/1000047797/Chavda_Ministries_International/Home/About_Us/About_Us.aspx

16. Every group has its own lingo, I have had to re-learn the various religious dialect on my spiritual journey and now I am proficient in Sign-gift speak (all 5 movement), Presby-prattle, Baptist bellowing, Lutheran liturgical speak and others!

17. From a PDF file on DMI’s Research CD Rom “The Latter Rain Movement” available for a modest $15.00

18. Her entire failed vision is widely available on the worldwide web.  Profalie: the act of speaking a false verbal prophetic (pathetic) word, it is a unique combination of the two words “prophesy” and “lie” Latter Rain CD ROM, DMI 2010

19. Please understand I am not saying that there are not nice people who think they are prophets, I am referring specifically to those I address by name in this article and in other writings.

20. Read Hagin’s book “I believe In Visions” he writes of it there and other places.

21-23 available on the Latter Rain CD Rom.

***

 

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Christological Confusions

21 01 2011

Truth Matters Newsletters – January 2011 – Vol. 16 Issue 1 – Christological Confusions – By Rev. Robert Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

Christological Confusions

Rev. Bob Liichow

 In the last few weeks Discernment Ministries International has received emails expressing concern over our belief in the Trinity of God. One would think that after two thousand years of biblical study and scholarly debate questions about the nature of the godhead would have been satisfactorily answered. The truth is they have been. The Church Catholic (universal) has been united in the following belief:

Whoever wills to be in a state of salvation, before all things it is necessary that he hold the Catholic Faith, which except everyone shall have kept whole and undefiled without doubt he will perish eternally. Now the Catholic Faith is that we worship One God in Trinity and Trinity in Unity, neither confounding the Persons nor dividing the substance. For there is one Person of the Father, another of the Son, another of the Holy Spirit. But the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, is One, the Glory equal, the Majesty coeternal. (1)

The orthodox Christian Church worships one God in Three Persons. I italicized the word person because our finite human language breaks down in many of our attempts to express eternal and timeless truth. Nonetheless, “person” is an adequate term to use because the word “person” is used to describe the three members of the Godhead because the word “person” is appropriate. A person is self-aware, can speak, love, hate, say “you,” yours,” “me,” “mine,” etc.

Each of the three persons in the Trinity demonstrate these qualities throughout the scriptures. The Bible is very clear concerning the fact that there is but One God yet is seen operating as Three within the One. The Father is not the same person as the Son; the Son is not the same person as the Holy Spirit; and the Holy Spirit is not the same person as the Father. They are not three gods and not three beings. They are three distinct persons; yet, they are the one God.

One of the recent emails excoriating DMI was regarding our declaring Mr. William M. Branham a heretic and telling people that he was a “Oneness” believer. The person writing us was partially correct in their diatribe by stating that Branham was not a member of the Pentecostal Assemblies of the WORLD (PAW) or the Apostolic Pentecostal Church; both Oneness denominations. They were correct in that Mr. Branham denounced all denominations as being of the great whore Babylon and was a member of none. However, Mr. Branham and all his followers deny the reality of the Trinity. A fellow truth-teller and Apologist Eric Pement wrote the following concerning Branham’s view on the godhead:

From his earliest days, Branham rejected the Christian doctrine of the Trinity. He thundered, “Trinitarianism is of the Devil! I say that THUS SAITH THE LORD.” Branham insisted that the Trinity doctrine originated with Satan, and that it taught there were “three gods.” Therefore he directed that any believer who was baptized according to the triune formula given in Matthew 28:19 should be rebaptized “in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ.” Branham generally described the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit as being three “titles,” offices,” attributes,” or “merits” of God. The problem with this explanation is that titles, offices, attributes, or merits cannot relate to one another on a personal level. (2)

I have written many articles about Mr. Branham and they can be read on our website or by visiting our BLOG which has all of the extant Truth Matters for your viewing pleasure. This being the case let me just mention Branham again briefly for those who are newer readers and may be unfamiliar with some of the background of this Arch-heretic.

Branham is probably one of the most widely followed revivalists of our era. He was killed by a drunk driver in the mid 1960’s. At the time of his death Branham’s popularity had taken a huge downward spiral. He had taught too many bizarre teachings and uttered various strange prophetic words that were simply too much for the mainstream Pentecostals to swallow. So at the end of his life, his revival meetings dwindled in size. Sadly, Branham was one of the first men to really utilize technology in his meetings. The result was that we have virtually all of his revival sermons on audio and many hours on 16mm tape. Branham is almost single-handedly responsible for the creation of the ten thousand plus independent charismatic congregations.

Branham’s warning to leave denominationalism almost destroyed the Assemblies of God (AOG) denomination due to the fact they lost of many of their pastors! After his death he became mythic in stature largely in part due to the other revivalists who tried to raise him from the dead for several days after his car accident! Men like Kenneth Hagin, Oral Roberts, T.L. Osborn, A.A Allen, Gordon Lindsey lauded and praised this man at his funeral as the greatest prophet of their generation. The end result? Today there are over 20,000 web sites dealing with this heretic. Hundreds of Branhamite congregations (aka groups) which do nothing but listen to his past sermons, watch him on video and read about him and spread his message!

Naturally, this Bran Amite (3) felt led to correct my views both on Mr. Branham and the Trinity of God. He failed in both arenas because there was nothing to correct regarding my understanding of both topics.

What Did Branham Believe About the godhead?

In a nutshell Branham believed nothing unique or new about God, in fact, he bought in an ancient heresy (unbeknown to him, Branham had less than an eighth grad education). Branham and the Oneness Pentecostals believe in “Jesus only.” Their churches are known among other Trinitarian Pentecostals as Jesus Only churches. Jesus is the Father, Jesus is the Son and Jesus is the Holy Spirit, there is no God but Jesus Christ, He is the One God.

Even though this ancient heresy was soundly rebuked, defeated and anathematized (declared a soul damning heresy) time and time again by The Church it still has persisted. Without going over eras of church history suffice it to say this heresy was virtually dead until 1913.

The Azusa revival of 1906 was already slowing down by 1913 and it was during a revival meeting in Los Angeles in 1913 that whipped things up again. This time a Canadian man named R.E. McAlister began to re-baptize converts in Jesus name only. This initially brought some confusion and debate. McAlister and his followers broke off from their fledgling Pentecostal brethren and took steps to formalize their doctrinal stance. The result was that today the fastest growing Pentecostal denominations are the Oneness Pentecostals which include the following organized groups: United Pentecostal Church International (UPC), Apostolic World Christian Federation, Assemblies of the Lord Jesus Christ, Church of the Lord Jesus Christ of the Apostolic Faith, Pentecostal Assemblies of the World (PAW). (4)

Within two years this reincarnation of ancient heresy was solidified into specific beliefs. Some of these beliefs included the need to be baptized by immersion in Jesus name only. This is a prerequisite to salvation, you must be baptized in Jesus name. What is more you must speak in other tongues as proof of having obtained full salvation. Thrown into the mix is a mishmash of Wesleyan holiness (works) and a firm belief that they are the only true Church.

Their Ancient Error

Several heretics arose in the early Church (there really are no “new” heresies per se). The “Jesus only” heresy is attributed to Sabellius, who taught a form of this doctrine in Rome in the third century. The Lord raised up as the chief opponent of Sabellianism a man named Tertullian, who labeled the movement “Patripassianism,” from the Latin words patris for “father”, and passus for “to suffer” because it implied that the Father suffered on the Cross. Sabellius, Praxeas, Noetus all fell into the error of “modalism” which simply means God takes upon Himself “modes” or simply appears in different forms but is the same and One God.

The Monarchians properly so-called (Modalists) exaggerated the oneness of the Father and the Son so as to make them but one Person; thus the distinctions in the Holy Trinity are energies or modes, not Persons; God the Father appears on earth as Son; hence it seemed to their opponents that Monarchians made the Father suffer and die. In the West they were called Patripassians, whereas in the East they are usually called Sabellians. The first to visit Rome was probably Praxeas, who went on to Carthage some time before 206-208; but he was apparently not in reality a heresiarch, and the arguments refuted by Tertullian somewhat later in his book “Adversus Praxean” are doubtless those of the Roman Monarchians. (5)

This error denies the individuality within the godhead and no doubt came about in an attempt to secure the place of deity for Jesus Christ. However in their attempt “making” Jesus to be God they veered off into error.

I asked the writer several simple valid questions which he refused to answer. In fact, when you encounter a Oneness dupe I would urge you to consider asking some of these same questions found on the following page.

 

Some challenging Questions To Ask The Arians at Your Doorstep and other Places

1. Is Jesus His own Father?

2. If Jesus’ will and the Father’s will were identical, then why did Jesus express the desire to escape the cup but resigns Himself not to His own will, but the will of the Father? See my article on this.

3. Was Jesus praying to Himself in the Garden of Gethsemane? If so, why?

4. If Jesus was praying to the divine side of Himself, then isn’t He still praying to Himself?

5. Why was Jesus not saying, “Not My will, but MY will be done?” if there is only one person and one will involved when He was praying in Luke 22:42 & Matt. 26:39 ?

6. If baptism is essential for salvation, then what happens to someone who repents of sin, accepts Jesus as Savior, walks across the street to get baptized but is killed by a car. Does he go to heaven or hell?

A. If he goes to heaven, then baptism isn’t a requirement is it?

B. If he goes to hell, then faith in Christ isn’t sufficient to save him is it?

7. If God is only one person, why did Jesus say in John 14:23, “If a man love me, he will keep my words; and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.” If God is only one person, why does Jesus say, “we”?

They have no adequate biblical response in attempting to answer these questions. Within Pentecostalism there has been a debate as to whether or not their Oneness compatriots are in fact Christians. I can answer that question very easily no debate necessary.  NO!   These people are guilty of preaching another Gospel [see 2 Cor. 11:4]. They present a system of works righteousness from the beginning to the end. Obviously they proclaim another Christ [see 2 Cor. 11:4] and if you are wrong regarding the Person and work of Jesus, then frankly, it matters not what one is right about. Lastly, they advance another spirit [see 2 Cor. 11:4] who is not the Holy Spirit as revealed in Scripture. How sad to go to church and worship someone you really do not know, and more importantly does not know you!

The second type of email to challenge DMI’s Trinitarian stance came from the other side of the heretical Christological morass of delusion, i.e. that Jesus is not God at all.

There were several heretics involved in attempting to mislead the church, time and space permit only touching on a few of the “bigs.” The following people taught more or less the same error with some subtle nuances that are unimportant to this discussion. These deceived deceivers taught that Jesus was the first created being by the Father. Thus in their system the godhead consists of God the Father period. Jesus is His first and greatest creation and the Holy Spirit is simply the spirit of the Father God. To them Jesus is not God, nor is the Holy Spirit.

Arius is probably one of the best documented of the heretics of this stripe. His beliefs can be boiled down to the following statement:

Using Greek terms, it denies that the Son is of one essence, nature, or substance with God; He is not consubstantial (homoousios) with the Father, and therefore not like Him, or equal in dignity, or co-eternal, or within the real sphere of Deity. (6)

The views of Arius were sounded defeated at the Council of Nicaea in 325 A.D. Almost 1,200 years later another somewhat similar error erupted in the 1500’s called “Socinianism” so named after the two brothers whom espoused this aberrant doctrine. They taught the following:

Socinianism denies the doctrine of the Trinity claiming it denies the simplicity of God’s unity. Instead, God is a single person with the Holy Spirit as the power of God. Since it emphasizes the unity of God, there could be no divine and human union in a single person as Christ. Therefore, Socinianism denies the incarnation and deity of Christ as well as Christ’s pre-existence…Since Jesus is not divine by nature, His sacrifice was not efficacious; that is, it did not result in the redemption of people who would trust in it, it teaches that Jesus was only a man.   (7)

Socinianism furthermore denies the efficacy of infant baptism, the reality of eternal damnation in hell, opting for annihilation of the wicked. To these people the Bible is only authoritative as properly understood [rationalism] by themselves.

Monophysitism was another heretical attempt to wrest Christ from the godhead. Monophysitism is heretical because of its erroneous assertions that the nature of Christ had only one nature, not two as is taught in the correct doctrine of the hypostatic union (Jesus is both fully God and fully man). The problem here is the same as concerning the above views:

The denial of the human nature of Christ is a denial of the true incarnation of the Word as a man. Without a true incarnation there can be no atonement of sin for mankind since it was not then a true man who died for our sins. (8)

Fortunately, this view was defeated at the Sixth Ecumenical Council in 680-681 A.D. Even though it was defeated by the Church and shown to be a heretical view it still exists today. What is more is that you have probably encountered the descendants of Arius and the Socinian brothers!

Today the most vocal voice spewing Arian heresy is the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Within the first few minutes of conversation they will deny that the Trinity exists, they will deny that Jesus is God the Son from all eternity. They will tell you that Jesus is the first and highest creation of Jehovah, as such He is referred to as a “son” but He is a created being. There is a vast amount of research material available free of charge on our website and the internet on how to answer the J.W.’s when they come knocking on your door.

Another popular group in America which holds forth Arianism along with other cultic beliefs is the Unitarian Universalist Church. Sadly, a purely American invention. Fortunately one that does not have a tremendous impact, unlike the J.W.’s who are very busy (after all their salvation depends on it).

Within the same week DMI received emails espousing these two heretical views of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is apparent that people outside the major cult groups (J.W.’s etc.) are beset with damnable ignorance about the biblical Jesus. This is ignorance the Church banished hundreds of years ago!

People historically have erred concerning whether Jesus was divine or not. Some exalt Him to being the only True God, others say He is n o God at all. If this was not confusing enough there is another category of error DMI has yet to be asked about, that being, the heresy regarding the two natures of Christ.

Monothelitism attempted to avoid the apparently unsolvable question of whether Christ had two natures, one human and one divine, or only one nature. Rather it placed the focus on stating that the nature(s) had only one will and one operation, although, still Christ was defined to have two natures. Nestorius, a priest is often sited as an originator of this error. By the Third Council of Constantinople, where the idea of Monothelitism was debated ended with declaring Christ with two wills and two operations, both together in the body of Christ.

Eutychianism is similar to Monophycitism. It states that Christ’s natures were so thoroughly combined — in a sense scrambled together — that the result was that Christ was not really truly able to relate to us as humans. The problem is this implies that Jesus was not truly God nor man. Therefore, He would be unable to act as mediator and unable to truly atone for our sins. (9) We don’t encounter many folks like this proclaiming to be Christians today. This mis-belief is an ancient one that the Apostles encountered taught by the Docetists. They taught that Jesus only “appeared” to be a man, that He was really God and thus His sufferings were just an illusion, etc…

Tritheism is what the Orthodox Church is accused of by the ignorant and unlearned. This is the concept of three gods, distinct, yet in union. All the cults and Islam in particular declare we worship a three-headed god or worse yet, three distinct gods.

Jesse Duplantis in his book Heaven, Close Encounters of the God Kind, which book DMI has thoroughly debunked and proven this work to be both plagiarized and a blasphemous document [AGAIN CHECK OUR BLOG FOR THESE ARTICLES ON DUPLANTIS & HIS LIES].

While allegedly in the throne room of heaven, Jesse on his face just takes a quick peek into the events before his eyes! He declares to his angel guide that He saw the father’s feet (no man can see God and live, right?), he saw Jesus preaching in the throne room (hmmm isn’t Jesus “God” saw him and lived). Then Jesse says to his angel guide “I see the Father, I see Jesus, but where is the Holy Spirit?” His angelic guide “oh Jesse, He is on earth!” Immediately Jesse said he felt so stupid for even asking the question!!! This man is followed by millions! His book is in many languages and has sold hundreds of thousands of copies! Yet he is a liar, false teacher, thief, and a deceiver who does not know the God of the Bible.

It is easy to see how the unregenerate can fall into accusing us of worshipping three gods especially when we tell them that the Father is God, Jesus is God and the Holy Spirit is God, these three are the One God — their minds go TILT. Three persons, each “God” how can that not be three gods? The answer is simple — because God has given us His Word and in it we clearly see three divine persons and yet a uniform testimony of the fact that here is but One God.

Can we fully understand the nature of the godhead? No, and honestly, I doubt we ever will fully understand everything about God a billion years from now. What I do have is God’s Word and my role as a disciple is to bow my pride and hugely vast intellect [lol] to the authority of His Word and renew my mind to its sublime truths and to teach others the truths contained therein by example and rhetoric.

In closing I would urge our readers to consider beginning the new year off by boning up on some of the foundational doctrines of our faith because it is here, at the foundation, that the cultists attack. Here are a few good books to consider for your library. As always, I advise anyone to go to www.abebooks.com and try to buy these tomes used.

Copyright © 2011 Robert S. Liichow

Some Titles to Consider

1. A Summary of Christian Doctrine Edward W.A. Koehler

2. Know What You Believe, Paul E. Little

3. How to read the Bible For All It is Worth Dr. Gordon Fee

4. Systematic Theology, Millard Ericson

End Notes

1. The Athanasian Creed, underlining and bold type added for emphasis.

 2. Obtained from http://www.midwestoutreach.org/journals/branham_tree.html on 01-06-11

3. DMI over the years have received several emails regarding Mr. Branham. It seems part of his followers ministry is to scour the internet and challenge all who dare doubt “prophet” Branham.

4. What is amazing and telling about the history of American Pentecostalism is that after the Azusa revival 4 main divisions fissured almost immediately. The AOG & COGIC (Church of God in Christ) are Trinitarian in doctrine, but split over racism. The AOG being virtually all white and COGIC being all black. Then within the heretic modalist group also split into 2 branches, again based on race and not doctrine. So much for “Holy Ghost love” and “union.”

5. Obtained from http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/10448a.htm on 01-06-2011

6. Obtained from http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/01707c.htm.

7. Obtained from http://carm.org/socinianism on 01-07-2011

8. Ibid

9. Obtained from http://www.experiencefestival.com/