The Three Ingredients to Move the Hand of God Prayer, Fasting and Worship

2 11 2011

The Three Ingredients to Move the Hand of God

Prayer, Fasting and Worship

By Rev. Robert S. Liichow

 In this final article on the International House of Prayer (IHOP) phenomena we will consider the three spiritual ingredients that when utilized properly will bring about global change in the Church and also in the world system (“cosmos”).

 Harp & Bowl Intercessory Prayer

Now when He has taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. Rev. 5:8

 The harps here represent music and worship, while the bowls represent intercessory prayers. In the Harp and Bowl model there is a combination of intercessory prayer with worship and music, reflecting the scene before God’s very throne in Heaven itself. “On earth as it is in heaven” is a goal of Harp and Bowl prayer.  Spirit-led music is constantly playing as people pray. There is a flowing together between the worship leader, instrumentalists, vocalists, prayer leaders, and intercessors in antiphonal prayer and praise. Not only does intercessory prayer have a powerful effect on a community, but so does the praise and worship of God. The Kingdom is brought down to earth as God’s people worship Him in a community, and a form of spiritual warfare takes place in praise. (1)

 What you’ve never heard of Harp & Bowl ministry? If you search that phrase on the internet you will discover that Google brings up over two million six hundred thousand results (2,600,000+ ) which means that this concept of worship has gone viral in net-speak. Tens of thousands of professing Christians have bought into the above interpretation of Revelation chapter five. This interpretation is naturally buttressed with other proof-texts to paint a picture of 24/7 prayer and worship services.

 In the past three articles we’ve demonstrated that the very foundational concept of IHOP is unbiblical. The text in Acts 15:16 is not a doctrinal statement commanding the Church to “rebuild” the tabernacle of David and go backwards to his form of worship. (2) Sazyc (a former good friend of the author) draws doctrinal support for this novel form of enthusiasm from the Book of the Revelation, another book that is not a source of doctrine for the Church, being it is apocalyptic literature. Our brother Sazyc cites the line in our Lord’s Prayer “Thy will be done on earth” as support for these never ending prayer meetings. If he is correct then it must be that the wheel of divine response grind at an exceedingly slow pace. For two thousand years God’s people have prayed the prayer our Lord gave to His Church and until the last twenty years (give or take) there has never been 24/7 prayer as a component of the Church’s life. The scene in Revelation chapter five is not a pattern for church prayer services but it does give us some insight into heavenly worship. We do see that singing, prostrating ourselves, incense and musical instruments are part of heavenly worship and thus have a place in our worship on earth. (3) Joe (Sazyc’s first name) goes onto to explain the close relationship between music and prophetic ministry (prophetic prayer (4) ):

 Music is also closely connected with prophetic ministry. Spirit-led and prophetic-edged prayer is a goal of the Harp and Bowl model. King David set up this kind of praise as a constant offering before the Lord in the Temple. (5)

 David, together with the commanders of the army, set apart some of the sons of Asaph, Heman and Jeduthun for the ministry of prophesying, accompanied by harps, lyres and cymbals. Here is the Zaccur, Joseph, Nethaniah and Asarelah. The sons of Asaph were under the supervision of Asaph, who prophesied under the king’s supervision. As for Jeduthun, from his sons: Gedaliah, Zeri, Jeshaiah, Shimei, Hashabiah and Mattithiah, six in all, under the supervision of their father Jeduthun, who prophesied, using the harp in thanking and praising the Lord. As for Herman, from his sons: Bukkiah, Mattaniah, Uzziel, Shubael and Jerimoth; Hannaniah, Hanani, Eliathah, Giddalti and Romamti-Ezer; Joshbekashah, Mallothi, Hothir and Mahazioth. All these were sons of Heman the king’s seer. They were given him through the promises of God to exalt him. God gave Heman fourteen sons and three daughters. All these men were under the supervision of their fathers for the music of the temple of the Lord, with cymbals, lyres and harps, for the ministry at the house of God. Asaph, Jeduthun and Heman were under the supervision of the king. Along with their relatives–all of them trained and skilled in music for the Lord–they numbered 288. 1 Chronicles 25:1-7

First of all these were not God ordained prophets. (6) David with his close commanders set apart some of the sons for “the ministry of prophesying.” Some can argue that David was being led by the Holy Spirit in the choices made. The Scripture is silent regarding any divine direction in the appointment of these men by David and I think it is important that we make a distinction between these musicians and that of the named biblical prophets. God called His prophets and in this case David calls men into the ministry of prophesying.

 I labor this point because the charismatic teachers have twisted this text and declare that it means that these men prophesied either as they played their music or while music was being played. The enthusiasts teach that these people were prophets in the order of a Daniel or Zachariah. There is nothing regarding this family of singers written of any of their prophetic utterances, i.e. there is no “Book of Asaph” or “First Herman.” How are we to understand the ministry of prophesying if they were not being oracular in their playing?

 The Teacher’s Bible Commentary says the following:

 In verse 1 prophesying with musical instruments is mentioned. Many of the Old Testament prophecies are preserved in poetic form. By the same token, some of the poetry (Psalms) in prophetic in nature. Music played an important part in the Hebrews’ worship of God. This can be seen by the different instruments which were used in worship. (7)

 It seems because these men did not receive any sort of supernatural “call” into the office of the prophet that their role was to give voice to what had already been prophesied and recorded in the divine scroll. Naturally their ministry would include the Psalms that King David wrote and was possibly composing at that time; many of these Psalms are unarguably prophetic in content. Ergo to sing these divinely penned words is to prophesy in a sense. The text itself goes on to validate what I have written because in vs. 8 of that same text we read that these men prophesied under the direction of Asaph who prophesied under the direction of the king.

 Obviously God was not directing them. The source seems to have been the King, David, who did receive revelation from the Lord, penned the psalm(s) and he directed Asaph (possibly they went over the music together) and then Asaph went and directed the musicians who then proclaimed prophetically if you will, to those in attendance. There is nothing deep or mystical about this at all when you consider it in its context. There is no hermeneutical justification to call these Levites “prophets” in the accepted understanding of the word.

 This is probably going to shock you (and Brother Joe) but there is no mention of anyone in heaven praying for us on earth. (8) The bowl contains the prayers of the saints on earth which ascend as incense before the throne of grace. Grandma and Papoo are not praying for you in heaven, nor is Mary or Joseph. (9) Prayer requires faith; faith is based on what is not seen (see Hebrews 11:1) but promised by God. In heaven when people are standing in the unveiled glory of the Ancient of Days no faith per se will be required so no prayers will be offered by the spirits of just men made perfect (Hebrews 12:23). Sorry, if this offends anyone’s pietistic sentiments about the “great cloud of witnesses” in Hebrews (Hebrews 12:1). But nothing is said about them praying for us nor we to them. Oh yes we do see glorious worship in heaven, but worship is not prayer. No one is seen petitioning the throne for those left on earth, apart from our Lord Jesus Christ, our great Intercessor and High Priest (Hebrews 7:25). Prayer is designed for those who are living, not the glorified. Prayer and its attending answers are needed on this earth not in heaven.

Prayer is not a means by which we can manipulate God and get Him to do whatever we want or think is right. One of the principles of charismatic extremist prayer is based on a twisting of the following verse:

Thus saith the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker, Ask me of things to come concerning my sons, And concerning the work of my hands command ye me. (10) Isaiah 45:11

Extremists believe this text gives them a Divine “fiat” by which they can literally “command” Almighty God concerning the work of His hands, i.e. all of created reality. The Hebrew word for “command” means to cry aloud and does not refer to people commanding God to do anything. All the attempts at playing God, or telling God what to do have always ended badly for those who would usurp God’s sovereign authority. Yet this is what Bickle seems to be involved in with this IHOP experiment.

Bickle teaches that Jesus’ second coming can be delayed or sped up according to the degree of the church’s spiritual maturity and readiness. He declared that most Christians are waiting passively for Jesus to return, when in actuality, Jesus is waiting for the church to prepare itself as the pure Bride of Christ and to ready itself to launch the last-day divine war to drive evil from the earth and cleanse it so that it can be filled with God’s love and glory. Bickle does not simply preach that the church will go through the Great Tribulation sealed by God’s sovereign power, but that the end-times church will actually cause God’s judgments to be released on the earth through prophetic prayer. In other words, the end-time praying church will not simply be helpless martyrs during the Great Tribulation; it will victoriously establish justice on the earth by releasing the devastating Great Tribulation judgments on the Antichrist’s global evil empire. (12)

The above statement is a succinct explanation of charismatic extremist eschatological thought. Bickle and the so-called Apostolic/Prophetic movement are “dominionists.” There is nothing new in what Bickle is proclaiming; this victorious and overcoming Church view prior to the return of Christ Jesus has plagued the church for a long time. Originally this view of world history got its real start in America among hardline Calvinists. (13) In 1973 Rousas John Rushdoony wrote a long book on the Ten Commandments and started a movement called “ Christian reconstructionism. “ Rushdoony’s son-in-law, Gary North also has written a lot about this novel idea of needing to Christianize the world by enforcing the O.T. legal code to cover every area of all people’s lives.

What started off as a staunchly Calvinistic theocratic approach to enforcing the Law of God throughout the world has morphed into today’s Apostles/Prophets movement. Their goal is the same — to Christianize the world and then after fully dominating every sphere of culture (government, social morality, the arts, education, and religion) the overcomers will hand it to the returning Christ as a gift.

In the minds of the enthusiasts they probably think that Rushdoony had the right idea, but lacked the “power” and authority that can only come through the restored Apostles & Prophets — this missing power and authority naturally resides within the rank ranks of them claiming The Spirit.

To Bickle Jesus is sitting and waiting for the church to mature and get herself ready to be used as God’s instrument to effect global transformation. It is up to us to decide when Jesus returns. We can either speed up His return or we can hinder it (see Acts 3:18). Obviously, the Church has been hindering His return over those last two thousand years so now we need to hasten His return.

According to Bickle Jesus is waiting for the Church, who like a Bride must get busy and prepare herself for her Bridegroom. What exactly is Jesus waiting for? He is waiting for the Church to prepare herself, i.e. come into spiritual maturity (become a manifested son). To what end? So that the Church, composed of super-anointed end-time saints will “…launch the last-day divine war to drive evil from the earth and cleanse it so that it can be filled with God’s love and glory.” (14)   The role of the church is to be the instrument that will by engaging in spiritual warfare (divine war) drive evil from the earth and cleanse it. Why? So that it can then be filled with God’s love and glory. Does this mean that he will be driving all the evil out of people too? If words mean anything, then this is what he means. Satan is the Tempter (1 Thess 3:5) but humanity at its core is evil (Luke 11:39) and in order to get rid of evil you have to get rid of the all sinful people as well as Satan and his demons.

This last phase of divine war was entered into when IHOP got going. Bickle teaches we will release God’s end-time judgments (written about in The Revelation) because of the power of prophetic prayer. Bickle has never been one to let context get in his way. It does not matter that the context of Rev. 8 plainly states that it is anangel that God uses to release His judgments (Rev. 8:1-5) not some army of super-saints.

It all boils down to human works.   Bickle and his followers are trying as hard as they can to work the various so-called spiritual laws and principles they have attached to prayer, fasting and worship. Concerning spiritual law let me just say this — it is the belief that God Himself operates by universal laws He Himself created. The Bible is somewhat of a code book that when properly understood reveals various universal laws which will work for anyone when they are applied. There are laws that govern financial prosperity, physical healing, fasting, prayer, etc. Visit any “Christian” bookstore and simply look at the titles in their charismatic section, which is probably the largest section in the store, and you will see how many focus on these “laws.”

I hope you noted who does the work in Bickle’s scheme of thinking. We do the work, poor Jesus is just sitting on the right hand of His Father (Hebrews 8:1) in the throne room of heaven waiting for us to grow up and act right. Since Bickle and his entire ilk believe that the Church is either hastening or delaying the return of Christ then they must believe that Jesus lied when He stated:

But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. (15) Mark 13:32

There is a fixed time when Christ Jesus will return. Jesus came on an appointed hour (Galatians 4:4) and He will return on the exact moment set for Him to do so by the Father. Bickle seems to think we are in control and that if enough of us will get in line and follow his directions and get working. . . Then Jesus can come back quicker. One of those necessary works to bring Christ back is the principle of fasting.

One of the laws that activates prayer to a higher realm is fasting. Adding the fasting aspect to prayer kicks prayer up a bunch of notches on the esoteric “fervency” scale in God’s eyes, right?   Taking time out to pray is one thing, but when you don’t eat too, WOW that really impresses God (not)! Now combine these two practices with hundreds of hungry people all gathered together crying out at full volume in ecstatic speech at the same time. Surely that must get heaven’s attention.

Like prayer fasting is a completely biblical practice and is something that should be practiced by all of God’s children. Jesus told His disciples “when you fast” (Matthew 6:16) not “if you fast.” I believe Jesus expects His disciples to fast in accordance with His Word. Five times in the Book of Acts fasting is mentioned, twice prayer and fasting are mentioned together. Fine and dandy. Without belaboring the point suffice it to say that if one fasts with the goal of obtaining spiritual power (aka “anointing”) or to help elevate himself into a mystical realm then the devil is close at hand to grant pseudo-power and a plethora of quasi mystical experiences. Fasting does not impress God. It is a method He has given us for our benefit in helping us focus on Him and to help set our minds on things above. It is a discipline of the flesh and as such it has its proper place in our spiritual lives.

Fasting when abused can lead people into great deception.   DMI has extensively covered the heretical writings of Mrs. Mary K. Baxter. After prolonged fasting she alleged Jesus took her on a personal 40 day tour of hell in her globally best-selling book “The Divine Revelation of Hell.” Baxter writes in the beginning of her book (a novel really) that she was praying in tongues and fasting when her version of Jesus appeared to her and transported her to the mystical realms of the damned. A.A. Allen regaled crowds in the Latter Rain revival of post WWII with how he shut himself away in a closet and refused to come out until God came and revealed to him what he, Allen, had to do to work miracles. After many days without food and water, God came down and revealed to Allen 12 things, 11 of which he shared but the twelfth secret he never shared. (16)

Around 1916 Howard Carter alleges to have fasted in prison while the Lord personally revealed to him all the nine sign gifts of the Spirit and how they operated and he also humbly received all 9 himself. Throughout history both within and without Christianity there are reports of people fasting and praying for protracted periods and the experiences they had. A camel herder named Mohammad went into a cave to fast and pray — he saw an “angel” and look at the fruit of his long prayers and fast today, modern Islam. A rich kid in India named Siddartha decided to fast and meditate under a Bodhi tree. After many days of fasting, Siddartha vanished and lord Buddha was brought forth with his Eight-fold Path. Consider all the misery caused by the false religions of Islam and Buddhism, both of which were birthed out of prayer and fasting. What is my point?  Simply this, going on long fasts can open people up to demonic influences. This is especially true when the long fasts are combined with the mind-numbing effect of praying in ecstatic speech.

The synergistic effect of both on body and mind can be profound. There are two specific dangers facing the extremists: (1) such practices have and can lead to direct demonic influence in the participants lives, and (2) such practices place the participants in a compliant semi-hypnotic state where they are susceptible to being taken advantage of by unscrupulous SINisters.

If while enacting the above a large hungry very vocal semi-hypnotized party of prayer warriors do not seem to be breaking through the brassy heavens then they need to add the third ingredient of an IHOP prayer meeting. . . {drum roll please} the ministers of music! (17) Prayer and fasting, while two necessary ingredients simply don’t mean a thing without that swing that the prophetic saophone and trumpet players bring. In the enthusiasts congregations and meetings the minister(s) of music has as much, of not more authority than the pastor during the service. NOW heaven must hear them. After all, we’ve got people praying, fasting, clapping, dancing, running around, weeping, laughing, calling down principalities and powers, loosing and binding — all at once. The louder and sweatier one gets the better the meeting is. In most of these type of meetings, and I have participated in many in the past, there is little or no proclamation of the Gospel, in fact I’ve heard it said many times that the Holy Spirit was moving so powerfully there was no need for preaching!

Music has a very powerful role in any so-called revival meeting. The power of music on people’s emotions and behavior is thoroughly documented.

Change in consciousness can be triggered when the brain is overloaded by an excess of sensory input. A simple method of overloading the brain’s ability to follow melodic patterns is through polyphony, the use of multiple independent melodies. The average person can consciously attend to one or two melodies at a time, but not to, say, four simultaneous melodies, as in the counterpoint of J.S. Bach. (18)

Throughout history, traditional and modern cultures have sought to generate trance-like states using music with short, repeated phrases and a hypnotic beat, so that time seems to slow down or stop.

The incremental repetition of brief, non-developing phrases, with or without intelligible words, generates and at the same time is generated by an unremitting [sic] beat. The continuity of the beat destroys the sense of temporal progression, so that one lives once more in mythological, rather than in chronological, Time [Mellers, p. 29.]

Repetitive, hypnotic sounds can induce trance-like states y focusing the brain’s attention n a minimal set of sensory inputs: Music has become such a commonplace that its effects may pass unnoticed, but when recordings of African or other unfamiliar music is listened to, it is realized that the rhythms are “fascinating.” The repetition of phrase and motif, the complicated rhythm within a rhythm that is characteristic of much of this music, may explain why man throughout recorded history and in the multiplicity of modern cultures has used music, both instrumental and vocal, for inducing the trance. When these phenomena are subjected to experimental study, some forms of music will be found to be much more hypnogenetic than others, and some persons will be more susceptible than others. For example, Ravel’s ‘Bolero’ can hardly fail to induce definit trances in some listeners. Ancient man knew of the trance-inducing qualities of music and used it for this purpose. The Druids, at the beginning of the Christian Era, were versatile in their use of hypnosis and music was one of their chief ways of inducing “magical sleep.” [Williams, p. 6] (19)

The role of music and musicians has been given prominence because of David’s use of both in his worship. In any enthusiasts gathering the music and the songs sung create the spiritual atmosphere (20)  in which God literally inhabits and thus He is enabled to flow through His yielded vessels the restored apostles and prophets working signs and wonders in their midst.

What I’m going to write now I ask that you take my word for it being true. Space simply does not permit me to verify what I am sharing, which no one else either knows about or is fearful of sharing. Before his death in 1990 Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh was using his disciples in his large gatherings for a specific purpose. Through his use of music, mind-numbing chanting, physical animations (jumping, jerking about, etc) he was attempting to create in his words “the Buddha field” through releasing the psychic energy residing within his disciples. Rajneesh was a real Nosferatu, vampire, but on the psychic level, he literally fed off the energy of his followers and probably was as close to being totally demon possessed as one can be.

IHOP’s meetings are in essence little different from the Bhagwan’s experiments. (21) Bhagwan was seeking god-like miracle working power and so were his followers. Bickle and his people are seeking power. Everything they do is about the “anointing” or alleged spiritual power. Prayer is about power, fasting is to increase power, music creates the zone where one can tap into God’s power. After all it is going to take massive amounts of spiritual power to cleanse the world from all evil. (Just something to ponder when considering God’s power — when was God most powerful?  When He died on the cross for our sins, think about this power in relation to the sign-gift view of power).

Bickle knows full well that the type of experiences occurring in their meetings cannot take place without all of the ingredients we’ve been looking at for the last several months. Music plays such a vital role in manipulating human emotions and a skillful musician can turn a crowd into psychic putty to be shaped as they please. Combine this fact with a group of hungry folks loudly engaged in song, in ecstatic speech, physical animations and loud repetitive music and you have created a platform for mind control.

In this charged atmosphere people routinely report finding precious gem stones, people covered in gold dust and even angel feathers after intense sessions of so-called worship. (22)   There are many videos on YouTube given by obviously “blissed out” sign-gift robots that you can view demonstrating the susceptibility to deception by those who’ve checked their minds at the door. The fact is that to charismatic believers there is a clear distinction between spirit, soul and body. So much so that they favor turning down or off their minds so as to feed their spirits, albeit they do this unconsciously via prayer, fasting, worship but the subtle underpinning philosophy beind these practices has been sown by their deceitful teachers.

With a little practice one learns how to enter into this altered state quite easily, the zenith of perfection being able to walk in and out of the “spirit” at will. Prior to the 24/7 experiment our former congregation in Detroit, Jubilee Christian Church under the false apostle Ellis Smith, were leaders regarding worship warfare due to our highly skilled musicians. The praise and worship portion of our services were over an hour. We’d start off “hot” with praise songs (animated songs that were suited to dancing) than after a long while (get good and sweaty) then the lights would dim and the music would shift th worship songs (slow songs, equally repetitive as the fast ones) often giving way to instrumental music following by singing in tongues by the congregation. . . . Then after a long while the lights would go up and the apostle/prophet/pastor/flavor of the moment was standing behind the Lucite podium ready to spoon feed our neutralized minds present day truths and whatever the vision (marching orders) of our anointed leader(s) were.  (23)

At Jubilee and throughout charismania we had “warfare” praise songs; songs that when sung literally were an engagement in fighting the principalities, powers and dominions. What scriptural basis did we have? Here goes:

Let the high praises of God be in their throats and two-edged swords in their hands, to execute vengeance on the nations and punishments on the peoples, to bind their kings with chains and their nobles with fetters of iron, to execute on them the judgment written! This is honor for all his godly ones. Praise the LORD! (24)  Psalm 149:6-9

Enthusiasts interpret this text to mean: “as we praise God fervently we are executing vengeance on the forces of spiritual darkness that enslave the nations. We bind prince demons and execute the judgment written about them in Jesus name. Praise the Lord!”

Set aside the context and think back to Bickle’s concept of ridding the world of evil. This is part of how it is going to be done through the high prophetic prayer/praises of God’s overcoming remnant of prayer warriors who manifested into sons and joined Joel’s Army.

Make no mistake about it; thee folks are serious in their efforts. It is obvious, when you can actually get people to PAY YOU to come pray at their center. They are working so very hard, just like hamsters on the wheel in their cage. Happily running as fast and as hard as they can, but getting nowhere fast all the while thinking they have made great strides spiritually.

Probably the saddest part of Bickle’s experiment is the deception that these people have willingly submitted themselves to. They have been skillfully manipulated by some very crafty people into thinking they are encountering the Living God when in reality they are far from Him. The degree of brain washing is extremely disturbing to observe. What do you make of people who refuse to believe that the “gold dust” found in the meeting is really nothing but plastic mirco flake when you show them the truth? Sai Baba, one of India’s premier perverted power gurus used to materialize gold dust, ask, gems, Rolex watches out of seemingly thin air. How hard is it to scatter some mini-semi-precious gem stones around the floor while everyone’s eyes are closed? What about the total lack of any contextual biblical support for Bickle’s activities and teachings? Bickle says the “manifest sons” will cleanse the whole world of evil prior to and without Jesus Christ’s direct personal involvement? Come on, what thinking Christian could believe such things? I know who, a person who has been brainwashed. Doubt me? Simply find someone who buys into this belief system and ask them some simple questions. How about this one — “since IHOP has been praying 24/7 for over 10 years now what results have you seen?”

I’d love to confront Bickle and ask him to cite the fruit from his experiment thus far. Is the world any closer to Christ? Is there any less evil, more glory and love? No in questioning these folks they will respond in anger and accusation. You will feel what Paul felt when he exclaimed — “Have I then become your enemy by telling you the truth?” (Gal. 6:4) Some of these folks seem to be embodying the dire condition related in the following passages of text:

For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall detroy with the brightness of his coming: 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. (25)  (2 Thessalonians 2:6-12)

It is very sobering to me when I present the truth of God’s Word to someone who professes to be a Christian and yet they vehemently denies God’s truth and embraces obvious fallacy. I’m not speaking about some esoteric obscure doctrinal position that the Church has never agreed upon, no I am referring to simple basic foundational truths which must be believed in order to be a Christian. (26) When someone denies these central truths and debates them with me versus humbly bowing their fallen minds to the authority of God’s Word then I do doubt their salvation and would at that point steer the conversation towards Christ Jesus and His redemptive work. Jesus said “Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God. (27) (John 8:27).  Paul said “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.” (28) (1 Cor. 2:14-16)

The only thing that will be spiritually accomplished by Bickle and his IHOP experiment will be the numbers of spiritually abused, broken and disheartened people, many of whom will be (and possibly already are) scanning the sunny horizon for the next move of the Spirit. Well, that and the millions of dollars gathered by Bickle through IHOP participants, music sales, books, and conferences. In effect the devil has sidetracked thousands of people, getting them involved in seemingly spiritual activity and siphoned off millions of dollars that could have been used for legitimate Christian work.

Like all of the prior enthusiastically inspired visions of power and glory (read in: “I will be like the Most High”) IHOP will dwindle down and fizzle out and trust me all the SINisters in the movement will have left long before the lights are turned out. May God have mercy on their souls and may He continue to send witnesses across their paths proclaiming God’s Word with boldness, accuracy and love.

Copyright © 2011 Robert S. Liichow

End Notes

1. Written by Rev. Joe Sazyc located at http://www.nextga.us/impact/harpbowl/ on 9/28/11 Underlining added for emphasis.

2. As I have previously written concerning the Eternality of the Divine Liturgy, the Church does bring forward some of the O.T. worship practices but at no time are we to come back under the yoke of the Old Covenant and its laws.

3. I am not contradicting myself my saying this about this text; in that incense, musical instruments, prostrations before the Lord are all found in numerous other texts and when viewed in their context it becomes evident that they are bone fide worship activities. I am not forming doctrine from the book of the Rev.

4. Prophetic Prayer: Allegedly prayer that is led by the Holy Spirit, predictive in nature, very declarative “thus saith the Lord I will bring great joy….” This is another invention by our sign-gift enthusiasts. The Bible does not denote any specific type or form of prayer as prophetic per se.

5. Obtained from http://www.nextga.us/impact/harpbowl/ .

6. Let me cover myself and quick — God is sovereign, everything that exists is under His direct and complete control nothing happens apart from His divine permission so in that sense these men were ordained by God to fill these roles. The distinction I make is between the divine calls on the biblical prophets by name — versus 288 men chosen by David and his cronies to fill this role.

7. Franklin H. Paschall and Herschel H. Hobbs, The Teacher’s Bible Commentary: A Concise, Though Interpretation of the Entire Bible Designed Especially for Sunday School Teachers (Nashville: Broadman and Holman Publishers, 1972), 228-229

8. Notwithstanding our Lord Jesus Christ, who ever lives to make intercession on our behalf (see Hebrews 7:25)

9. Just a word of friendly advice, not only are they not praying for us, but I hope you do know that you are not to pray for them either, they are not listening to you.

10. The Holy bible King James Version, Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version (Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc, 2009), Is 45:11.

11. In an earlier article in the series I denoted several historic examples of charismatic extremists “experiments.” The 24/7 prayer model is another such experiment, it will remain in effect as long as the money flows into it. Keep in mind that those on “staff” actually pay for the privilege of being spiritually abused & used.

12. Obtained from http://journal.equip.org/articles/forerunner-eschatology .

13. History records what Calvin attempted in Geneva, it didn’t work then and won’t work now. However, let me add that I have GREAT respect for Calvin, anyone who at age 21 wrote The Institutes of the Christian Religion is not a lightweight. As an Evangelical Lutheran, I can appreciate some of his thoughts, but not all f them.

14. Obtained from http://journal.equip.org/articles/forerunner-eschatology . Italic added for emphasis by this author.

15. The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), Mk. 13:32.

16. A.A. Allen died of an overdose of barbiturates and alcohol. Prior to his death in CA he was arrested in TN, for DUI. His co-SINisters bailed Allen out and they fled the state never to return. His cohorts were R.W. Schambach and Don Stewart, both televangelists today, both fed from Allen’s addiction and did nothing to help him.

17. It drives my fellow Lutheran pastors crazy when they keep learning of new “ministries” apart from that of the pastoral office. Charismatic sign-gift folks have ministries for everything and everyone, regardless if it has ever been a part of the Church at any time in 2,000 years.

18. http://www.sfxmachine.com/docs/musicandconsciousness.html Underlining and bold typed added.

19. Ibid.

20. “Spiritual” is what the sign-gift folks call it, the atmosphere is a result of a form of mass hypnosis and susceptibility.

21. He was kicked out of India and other countries due to the unsavory sexual escapades he and his followers involved themselves in plus the several strange deaths, suicides and commitments to mental institutions of those unable to keep up caused him to be persona non grata.

22. DMI has the only books in publication that deal with the gold dust phenomena and supernatural gold teeth, etc….contact our office if you are interested in : Does the bible Support A Doctrine of Gold Teeth?

23. Worship to most of same Christendom refers to the entirety of the service. Sign-gift folks delineate music as either being praise or worship. Both genres of music create specific responses and crafty leaders know which buttons to push. Sorry if it seems I am beating this point to death — but it really is a very hideous form of spiritual abuse.

24. The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton: Standard bible Society, 2001), Ps. 149:6-9.

25. The Holy bible King James Version, Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version (Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc, 2009), 2 Th. 2: 6-12. Underlining and bold type added

26. Want to know what “must” be believed? Read The Athanasian Creed, it makes a beautiful chant as well.

***





Are Today’s Prophets Dangerous?

29 07 2011
Truth Matters Newsletters – July 2011 – Vol. 16 Issue 7 – Are Today’s Prophets Dangerous? – By Rev. Robert Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

Are Today’s Prophets Dangerous?

Rev. Bob Liichow

Over the last two issues we’ve been examining today’s so called Prophetic Movement (PM) and now we want to consider why it is dangerous on many levels.

My wife and editor of Truth Matters thought I was being a bit harsh in the last issue and possibly could have been more irenic in my writing. Although generally my wife is correct in her comments, in this case I thought not. Please keep in mind DMI is concerned with those individuals who occupy pulpits and the international stage as “prophets” as opposed to the squirrelly charismanic who always seems to “have a word from the Lord” for you at family gatherings.

Are false prophets dangerous?   Without a doubt they are: and God has always warned His people in both testaments to be aware of the danger they pose. The Apostle Paul warned the Ephesians elders (and us by extension) to be aware of the coming two-front attack on the Church:

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, every one night and day with tears. Acts 20:28-31.   (1)

A false prophet from outside the Church, truly a wolf devouring the souls of multitudes was a man named Mohammad, the guy who started the false religion Islam. Today over 1.5 billion follows are marching straight into the jaws of hell. Sadly, much of today’s suffering is directly tied to people following this particular false prophet. So you tell me, is a false prophet dangerous?

Let me cite a couple examples of false prophets from within the Church. A fellow named Joseph Smith decided to call himself a restored prophet (a man who believed in speaking in other tongues, healing cloths, etc.) and founded The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, a movement of restorationists. This cult is listed as the ninth largest denomination in America and these people are very evangelistic both nationally and internationally. Millions are destined for eternal destruction because they follow the doctrines of a false prophet.

In 1978 over 900 people died following a formerly ordained minister (Disciples of Christ) who proclaimed himself a restored prophet, Mr. Jim Jones.

More recently in 1993 a member of a sect of the Seventh Day Adventist was shot to death along with other followers in Waco, Texas. David Koresh announced himself the prophet to the Branch Davidian, a sect of the S.D.A. church (2) and his disciples followed him to the death (those deaths I personally blame on our bumbling former government leaders).

Lastly, we have our brother Harold Camping, who describes himself as a Bible student and not a prophet, nonetheless stands in that “office” when he says “thus saith the Lord” according to his interpretation of various texts publicly. Several who believed his pronouncements lost their jobs and homes both most recently and previously when he declared the “rapture” of the Church. Another bad fruit borne is that the name of Jesus is tarnished and ridiculed even more so by the world when these people rise up in our midst. (3)   As an update for those who have not heard, brother Camping suffered a stroke, and he is home now, but pray for him, his wife and their followers. (4)  There are several other examples I could cite of some of the more obvious repercussions of following false prophets, but these should suffice.

Unfortunately we live in a time that is the perfect feeding ground for these deluded souls and wolves to feast upon. We live in a generation of experience driven spiritual enthusiasts. Our churches are filled with people who are no longer content with the plain teaching of the Bible. Today’s Americanized Christian wants direct immediate (current) revelation from God, not some dry exegesis of Scripture or some sermon on Law and Gospel. No today’s spiritual seeker looks for direct immediate mystical fellowship with God. It is not unusual for people attending prophetic congregations to be slain in the spirit  (5)  and get up later and share with the others how they had just spent “face time” with Jesus, mano-a-mano in heaven.

Our culture of immediacy, self-gratification and a desire for spiritual power (6)  is fertile ground for the wily wolf. When you combine thee elements with people who have no sure doctrinal foundation you have a recipe for a subtle but devastating spiritual shipwreck. I say subtle, because the destruction is done within the context of Christian church services and meetings. Subtle, in that the words they use are similar to ours but they mean something vastly different to them. As the patron saint of heresy-hunters said:

By means of specious and plausible worlds, they cunningly allure the simple-minded to inquire into their system; but they nevertheless clumsily destroy them, while they initiate them into their blasphemous and impious opinions respecting the Demiurge (3) and these simple ones are unable, even in such a matter, to distinguish falsehood from truth. Error, indeed, is never set forth in its naked deformity, lest, being thus exposed, it should at once be detected. But it is craftily decked out in an attractive dress, so as, by its outward form, to make it appear to the inexperienced (ridiculous as the expression may seem) more true than the truth itself. One far superior to me has well said, in reference to this point, “A clever imitation in glass casts contempt, as it were, on that precious jewel the emerald (which is most highly esteemed by some) unless it come under the eye of one able to test and expose the counterfeit. Or, again, what inexperienced person can with ease detect the presence of brass when it has been mixed up with silver?” Lest, therefore, through my neglect, some should be carried off, even as sheep are by wolves, while they perceive not the true character of these men,–because they outwardly are covered with sheep’s clothing (against whom the Lord has enjoined us to be on our guard), and because their language resembles ours, while their sentiments are very different.  (7)

America has given birth to almost all of today’s recognized false-prophets. One of the most dangerous is “Dr.” Bill Hamon, one of the living fathers of the P.M. Even though throughout the recorded history of the Bible God has sent less than 60 people total, 48 men and 7 prophetesses. That is all it took God in order to reveal His will to His people. However, Mr. Hamon has great news for the world!

John came in the power and spirit of the PROPHET Elijah. Just as one PROPHET, John the baptist prepared the way for Christ’s first coming, now a COMPANY OF PROPHETS will prepare the way for Christ’s second coming. That COMPANY OF PROPHETS is being raised up in the 1980’s. God revealed to me that there are 10,000 PROPHETS on the North American continent alone being prepared to be released within the Church. This COMPANY OF PROPHETS will come forth in the power and spirit of Elijah. They as a corporate body of PROPHETS, will fulfill the prophecy of Malachi in relation to Christ’s second coming as John the Baptist fulfilled it in relation to Christ’s first coming. A single PROPHET prepared the way for the Messiah of Israel and Redeemer of mankind. The COMPANY OF PROPHETS will prepare the way for Jesus the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. The one PROPHET prepared the way for Jesus to come and usher in the Church Age; the many PROPHETS will prepare the way for Jesus to come and usher in the Kingdom age.  (8)

“God” revealed to Hamon that there were 10,000 prophets being prepared to be released within the Church. Not only will there be 10,000 God-sent prophets, they have the duty to (1) prepare the way for the return of Jesus and (2) actually usher Jesus back to earth!

Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your 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

This brings us to the very important question of authority. Under whose authority do these people operate? There are only three sources of authority: (1) God, (2) man, and (3) the devil. If they were from God then they would teach His Word accurately which they clearly do not do. Secondly, when they speak in the name of the Lord what they say would be 100% accurate every time. The first mistake would disqualify one from every speaking again (that is N.T. grace; the O.T. was death for the false prophet). There are books, audio cassettes, videos and internet transcripts of all of the major “prophets” of today making false and unfulfilled prophetic claims in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. Our Lord Himself gave us this guideline to use:

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 fruits ye shall know them. Matthew 7:15-20

What about a little fruit inspecting?  Paul Cain the “father” of today’s PM was recently exposed as an alcoholic and homosexual (9Well Bob we are all sinners… Yes, but isn’t it interesting that a man revered as the living bridge between William Branham, the greatest prophet since the Apostle Paul and mentor and spiritual father to the major prophets today would not be discovered/uncovered by the other “prophets” for over 20 years?  How good are these guys’ spiritual antennae?

Mr. Benny Hinn is on public record regularly prophalies (10)  things that do not occur. This does not stop Hinn nor hundreds of thousands hanging on his every word even after failure after failure both prophetically and miracle-wise. A good example of Hinn’s lack of heavenly insight was demonstrated when God did not reveal to Hinn that his two closest associate were heroin addicts, both of whom died of their addictions while in Hinn’s employ. (11) Surely our Lord would have wanted His servant to help deliver his close associates from this demonic addiction? Maybe God is not speaking to Mr. Hinn, I believe He is not.

The list of sexual predators within the PM is long, people such as the august Bob Jones  of Kansas City prophets fame and spiritual son of Cain. Nothing like having Christian sisters stand nude (how deceived were these poor women?) before you as you “speak” over them the words of God! (12) He stepped down for a short season, but he is back profiling today.

Todd Bentley was recently elevated to the role of an “apostle” their ceremony is still available to be seen on Youtube.com. Mr. Bentley is a convicted child molester  (do they ever change?) and soon after his “anointing” to new realms of revival power he got divorced from his wife due to his recent sexual indiscretions and married the woman he was cheating with. (13)  This all transpired within a year of his establishment as a mighty prophetic voice. I really urge our readers to go and watch some of the many Youtube.com videos.  It is simply amazing to hear swelling words over Todd’s spiritually slain body! I do not have space enough to cite all the prophets who’ve been divorced and remarried without missing a step! All of the above is simply an inspection of “fruit” borne in their public lives. I have written extensively in the past regarding the myriad of false doctrines and practices these people promote. To any sensible person it is obvious that these so-called men and women have not been sent by God (the fist and foremost Authority). Here is what the Lord says regarding these people:

Then the Lord said unto me, The prophets prophecy lies in my name; I sent them not, neither have I commanded them, neither spake unto them: they prophesy unto you a false vision and divination, and a thing of nought, and the deceit of their heart. Therefore thus saith the Lord concerning the prophets that prophesy in my name, and I sent them not, yet they say, Sword and famine shall not be in this land; By sword and famine shall those prophets be consumed. And the people to whom they prophesy shall be cast out in the streets of Jerusalem because of the famine and the sword; and they shall have none to bury them, them, their wives, nor their sons, nor their daughters; for I will pour their wickedness upon them. Jeremiah 14:14-16

Since God did not send them that leaves only two options, either they sent themselves or by other men or Satan sent them. Never forget that Satan sends people into the Church under ministry guise all the time (where did all those pedophiles come from recently exposed?).

But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also…The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one;  Matthew 13:25,26,38

Both of these possible choices are unacceptable to the Christian Church. We do not want any man sent, man ordained “prophet” whom God did not send, whom God did not speak to, and who prophesy a false vision and deceit from his heart! Nor will we accept someone sent by our adversary the devil roars like a lion and seeks tender lambs to devour (1 Peter 5:8).  In Jeremiah’s time God not only judged the false prophets but He also judged those who heeded their lies. It seems in this case that God expected His people to know better, to have been able to discern true from false, after all He did send them a true prophet in Jeremiah (whom they rejected).

Are we any better off today? God has sent His true prophet into the hands of His Church in the form of the Bible. The Bible alone is the only guide for faith and practice and it is readily agreed upon by all orthodox Christians to be 100% accurate in the original manuscripts. Yet tens of thousands of professing Christians have cast aside their true guide (their Bible) for willingly pay for a fresh word from some prophet or prophetess. The spiritual bastard (Heb. 12:8E. Bernard Jordan can be seen daily on BET television offering a word from the Master prophet (himself) for varying amounts of money. For a mere $3,000 you can get into his master circle and receive one-on-one prophetic instruction! You can also purchase prophetic soap, oils and other superstitious trinkets and crap from his web site at http://www.zoeministries.com/  Jordan was trained by prophet Bill Hamon and today is phenomenally wealthy and was the last place 1960’s false prophet Rev. Ike was given a television platform. Like granny always used to say [if it’s in the root, it’s in the fruit”]. Obviously thousands of people are hearkening to the voice of the Master Profit, people who prefer to hear an audible voice say “the Lord says He loves you” as opposed to reading 2 Corinthians 13:14: The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all Amen. They have more faith in the audible word than God’s written Word which is part of what makes these people so dangerous. If I can get to you to believe that God has sent me to give you your personal divine direction from the throne of Almighty God through the power of the Holy Spirit, then I own you lock, stock and barrel.

How can I prove God has sent me as His prophet (profit) for you? Simple!  Today this is proven by either matriculating from one of the many prophetic schools (14) or being even tangentially associated with some of the recognized prophets, i.e. Paul Cain laid hands on me to activate my prophetic gift.” Give Jordan enough money and he will put you on television with him and acknowledge you as a prophet under him.  That alone is probably a six figure money stream.  It is easy to obtain instant global public relations via the internet. Any aspiring prophet need only create a blog, link to accepted prophetic ministries (they will reciprocate), attend some meetings, get your photo snapped (or morphed) in with other recognized prophets. Write/prophesy something extreme. Doing this will generate (1) a mailing list, something coveted by all media SINisters, (2) money from donations, books, tapes, and (3) give one a veneer of legitimacy. Naturally every prophet worth his or her salt offers wondrous tales of their experiences in the spirit realm.  Jesus personally met with Paul Cain and offered him a prophetic ministry at the alleged cost of celibacy (Matthew 19:12). This gave the sodomite cover for remaining single for over fifty years of SINistry.  Branham heard voices, saw angels, others saw lights on and around him, etc. An angel appeared to Cindy Jacobs telling her to start Generals of Intercession. So one must have some sort of wild tale, trip to heaven, special mandate, etc. to set oneself apart and on a higher spiritual platform than those who seek your wisdom. After all, why follow someone who is no further along than yourself?

The prophetic bona fides as a prophet are then offered to a pastor of usually a smaller independent P.M. congregation (say any of the Vineyard or their offshoot groups) and thus begin the milking process with that initial pastor’s congregation and then ministry network, hopefully working one’s way up the food chain gaining access to larger and larger groups. All along the way they amass a larger and larger mailing list/donor base.  These small potato beginnings are part of the dues the false prophet has to pay in order to become a BIG PROFIT. After all, doesn’t the Bible teach us not to despise the days of small beginnings in Zech. 4?

Infiltrating the local church route is pretty much a guaranteed feeding trough for the profit. First of all he is accorded special treatment by the pastor and elders. Even our small prophetic/apostolic congregations in Detroit had its “prophets chamber” with fresh juice and snack cart, private bathroom and, an armor bearer. (15)  Since the pastor let him or her into the sheepfold then they must be from the Lord, right? This is a legitimate charge against all the pastors who’ve allowed their portion of His flock to be misled by willfully allowing false ministers access. They will give an account for it on that day. The wolf will usually bring his own materials to sell, newsletters, sign-up sheets which along with the huge offering taken from God’s gullible sheep equal thousands of dollars for an evening’s work. I remember when we brought up false apostle Clarence from Baton Rouge who prophesied over all of us in leadership individually and those who gave money. That night, from an inner city church in Detroit, Jubilee Christian Center, under the leadership of false apostle Ellis Smith over $15,000 was raped from the ignorant by the beguiling words of a street thug. Do I sound bitter? I am not, but I am angry as I think how many of our friends we’ve known who were so easily taken in by various false prophets and apostles. These are people who have a sincere desire to work for Jesus and to be on the cutting edge of the moving of the Holy Spirit in the earth. People who are fervent in prayer and their giving embarrassingly outstrips the rest of us in our congregations. It is among these people, an open expectant people who already believe to some degree that God is restoring His Church in these last days that the false prophet finds a fertile field.

It is precisely this reason that God is against the false prophet and warns us continually to beware of these dangerous frauds, who if given ear to can be very convincing :

A wonderful and horrible thing is committed in the land; The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof? Jeremiah 5:30-31

Thy prophets have seen vain and foolish things for thee: And they have not discovered thine iniquity, to turn away thy captivity; But have seen for thee false burdens and causes of banishment. Lamentations 2:14

And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. Matthew 24:11-12

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 lingenth not, and their damnation slumbered not. 2 Peter 2:1-3

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

God knows that people are sheep like (John 10:11) and we will follow leaders and no leader is more eternally important to Christians than the spiritual leaders who are supposed to lead us into a closer fellowship with our Lord, which I can tell you is genuinely fulfilled in Word and sacrament ministry and thus discipline us to be productive citizens of the Kingdom of God.

God knows that His people have a new heart to obey His will for their lives (Ezekiel 11:19) and the new man within them desires to please Him (2 Timothy 2:4) which allows for growth by the Holy Spirit through His means of grace. These godly capacities can be taken captive (2 Timothy 2:26)  by our enemy through false ministers. Some time ago I began a booklet to refute the tiresome extremist position called the Five-fold ministry and one day soon I hope to finish it (apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, and teacher).

Sign-gift dogma teaches that every congregation must receive unique and particular anointing(s) from each one of these five ministry offices. It is in fact impossible for any church to genuinely develop apart from these specific impartations. This has been drummed into toe heads of virtually all sign-gift congregations since 1948 and it is widely accepted. Because virtually all congregations believe they must receive from the Lord via these final two restored ministries the false prophet has a readymade home in every city in practically every country.

Another attending facet to the prophetic ministry is reliance upon signs and wonders, the more bizarre and novel the better. Reports abound within prophetic congregations and on the internet about meetings where angelic feathers appeared, gold dust miraculously covering people, jewels and precious stones being found after prophetic worship. (16)  It was the so-called restored prophets who brought into the Church the onslaught of holy laughter and other forms of fleshly and demonic manifestations which has impacted millions of professing believers and is still roaring on in various morphed forms including the “Bay of the Holy Spirit.”

If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, andgiveth thee a sign or a wonder, And the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them; Thou shall not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the Lord your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. Deuteronomy 13:1-3

I am always reminded of the false prophet William Branham whose SINistry was truly accompanied by many strange signs and wonders. Yeah some of his wonders did come to pass and he pointed to them as proof that his doctrine was correct because God was using him in a mighty way. This caused untold thousands to abandon their former congregations and denominations and follow a man who denied the Trinity, taught bizarre doctrines and was at best an apostate. People believed the signs and wonders over the Word of God as taught and confessed by the Church since the beginning.

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 24:24

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

Some of the accounts of sign and wonders have been proven to be false (gold dust turning out to be gold colored plastic micro-flake for example and gold teeth that were prior to the revival meeting) others not so easily explained. Jesus said the time would come when false prophets would show great signs and lying wonders but I believe that same dark spiritual power is parceled out to the myriad false prophets today by Satan:

Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists: whereby we know that it is the last time. 1 John 2:18-19

For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist   2 John 7

How many tragic accounts have been reported due to the abuses of those calling themselves prophets? Profit Robert Tilton is now married to his third wife, and is still siphoning a few hundred million dollars from legitimate ministry work via television and mail. Bishop/prophet Earl Paulk of the mega Atlanta, GA Based den of extremism was charged several times with forcing women to have sex with him and other “church” officials. (17)  W.V. Grant is another convicted felon and prophetic fraud, hurting thousands. Many cases are being reported from Africa where extremist Pentecostalism is rampant. Here is one example—Madzibaba Urayai Zvamunondiita:

By Shiyiwe Mbedzi

ANOTHER SELF-STYLED bogus prophet has been caught in the eye of a storm accused of indecently assaulting his 22-year-old client. Madzibaba Urayai Zvamunondiita (36) of Waterfalls was yesterday in court facing charges of fondling the private parts of a married woman…rayai prayed for Sertina and told her that he would need her vaginal fluids to assist her. He ordered her to undress and started kissing and fondling her private parts. Sertina also accused Urayai of making her touch his erect penis until he ejaculated. Urayai took Sertina’s pants and wiped her vaginal fluids ordering her to use it when conducting her prayers. (18)

“Oh that would not happen here in America.”  Wrong,  ever hear about John Roberts Stevens, one of the fathers of today’s Latter Rain Movement aka Signs and Wonders Movement, Joel’s Army, the New Apostolic Reformation, Prophetic Movement, Apostolic Movement, etc? His overcoming prophetic group was scandalized by his leadership in which he led the way to rampant sexual infidelity among its members. His cultic congregation, Living Word Fellowship naturally has a school of the prophets, their deceased founder being one of the early Latter Rain false prophets and sexual predator.

When an individual has been seduced into following a pied-piper prophet they are on very dangerous ground indeed. It will cost them spiritually, because while they believe they are on the frontlines of spiritual warfare they have been taken captive by our enemy long ago and now are simply exhibiting the enthusiastic antics of the monkey cage. Not only is there loss of a genuine meaningful walk with Christ now (which is the only one that counts) but the loss of future spiritual reward at the reward seat of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:10).

There is also the terrifying, yet distinct possibility of hearing:

Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity. Matthew 7:21-23

Here we find people standing face to face with Christ and what do we see? People pointing to their works, even works done in His name. (19)  These are power people, signs and wonder workers, folks who prophesied in Jesus’ name, cast out demons in His name and did many wonderful works, again in His name. These were not your rank-n-file low wattage Lutherans, frozen chosen Presbyterians or mundane Methodists. No these sound like the so-called “eagle saints” of Joel’s Army.  Is Jesus impressed?  Does He applaud their mighty works (in His name)?  Jesus does not deny what they have done, nor does He say that He once knew them but now had forgotten them.  No He says the most chilling words that can be uttered “I NEVER knew you; depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”

Those who presume to stand up and declare themselves to be prophets of the Living God are in extreme spiritual danger and need to quickly repent of their presumptuous sin (Psalms 19:13)  Equally those who have rejected the Bible for a now word from a prophet is being spiritually misled now and is in danger of eternal loss.

This has been a rather harsh article in some ways. I have not tried to write diplomatically about men and women who have been severely deceived into thinking they really are prophets or are demonically inspired in some cases — unfortunately, it is not an either/or situation, it is a both/and. Pray for all of those caught up in this seductive and growing movement within the Church. Warn those in love who you know are involved in this type of aberrant group and most of all continue to nourish your spiritual life with a regular infusion of God’s Word and sacrament.

Copyright © 2011 Robert S. Liichow

End Notes

1. The Holy Bible: King James Version 2009 (Electronic Edition of the 1906 Authorized Version) (Ac 20:28-31) Bellingham, WA: Logos Research System Inc.

2. Some people place the S.D.A. in the cult category, others place it as a sect, i.e. non-standard but still orthodox enough to be considered Christian. Where does DMI stand? Frankly, we are with those who call it a cult. They follow the teachings of Ellen G. White (a restored prophetess), are very legalistic in diet and worship being strict Sabbath keepers. I urge anyone who is interested to research them on the web and come to your own conclusion based on the facts about the SDA.

3. I know the rest of the Church rebuked and denounced Harold, but the world does not care about what we say, only that we look foolish in their eyes

4. Obtained from http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2011/06/13/national/main20070762.shtml  on 07-13-11.

5, DMI has an excellent booklet entitled “Does the Bible Support A Doctrine of Being Slain in the Spirit.” It is once of the few books in print on this bizarre, yet commonplace phenomena in the lives of millions of professing Christians.

6. Sign-gift people are very preoccupied with the search of mystical experiences and power. Simply look at the titles of the majority of their books (go to any televangelist’s web site bookstore). As a former extremist myself I know how much time I spent trying to gain spiritual power, naturally for the glory of God…and then Bob Isn’t it interesting the “gifts” are just that—gifts—given by God (or someone else). However, fruit on the other hand must be cultivated; it take time to develop into ripeness. Fruit bearing is work, labor and thus little is taught in sign-gift congregations on it.

7. Irenaeus Against Heresies book One, paragraph 1 and two. Underlining added for emphasis.

8 Hamon, Bill  Prophets and Personal Prophecy, Destiny Image 1987. Underlining added.

9. Read about him at http://www.deceptioninthechurch.com/orrel19.html.

10. Prophalie, the act of uttering a false pathetic word masquerading as a word from the Lord God.

11. Read about it here http://triablogue.blogspot.com/2009/10/benny-hinn-heroin-and-long-trail-of-of.html

12. Read about this story at http://www.deceptioninthechurch.com/kcp.html

13. Read about it http://westernstandard.blogs.com/shotgun/2009/03/todd-bentley-marries-woman-whom-he-had-extramarital-affair-with.html

14. Hamon, Jordan, Bickle, Joyner  all offer some form of prophetic education in and by their schools of the prophets. They seem to believe that if one is called to be a prophet, then they can be trained by other prophets. They argue both sides of the coin (1) we all can prophesy 1 Cor. 14:1, so we can learn how to do so or (2) obviously we cannot train one to prophesy who is not first called by God as a prophet, ergo any prophetic “failure” falls on the prophet not the school or the teacher. So these liars can take either side when challenged and they do.

15. What your pastor does not have an armor bearer? How passé and so five minutes ago. The ministry of the armor bearer has been restored back to the Church in the early 1990’s, where have you been? Calling all young men who want to get into the glory & bask in the anointing that flows from the garments of your leader then consider this vocation as seen in the Bible! Yes sir, this is a biblical ministry–read about King Saul and little David before he killed Goliath.

16. Prophetic worship is when the worship is aimed at spiritual warfare and/or the declaring of victory or future glories by the worship leader(s). It may involve simple impromptu singing and the “song of the Lord” and quickly made up ditty. Prophetic worship often is “spirit-led” i.e. a departure from whatever else was planned, and usually involves a protracted amount of time singing, dancing or doing carpet time. There is also “prophetic intercession,” “prophetic praise,” prophetic healing too.

17. Read more at http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,312249,00.html

18. http://www.hmetrozim.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=4085:prophet-in-sex-scandal&catid=1:latest-news&Itemid=165 has this story.

19. It is interesting that they point to their “works” even though if what they said they did was wrought in and by God then it would have simply been the





The Prophetic Movement in Our Time

1 06 2011
Truth Matters Newsletters – May 2011 – Vol. 16 Issue 5 – The Prophetic Movement in Our Time by Robert S. Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

 The Prophetic Movement in Our Time

By Robert S. Liichow  

Christ cannot return until His ascension gift ministries have brought the Church into full manhood.” Prophet Bill Hamon  

 D.M.I. has received several e-mails expressing concern over the so-called “Prophetic Movement,” and we have been urged to write again about what is going on in this popular and growing segment of the charismatic renewal.

 Throughout the post-apostolic history of the Church there have always been people who have claimed to be “prophets” speaking a newly revealed divine word from God. Without exception, every one of these individuals has been rejected by the orthodox Church. Certainly, these deluded individuals have had their followers but by in large these folks remained at the fringes of Christianity and their impact was slight.

 It was not until the 1940’s that the concept of God restoring the office and ministry of the prophet became popularized and this mainly through the ministry of William Branham. Branham boldly declared himself “God’s prophet.” The validation for his claim was the alleged sign gifts; the word of Knowledge, the word of wisdom (1) (see 1 Cor. 12:8) and divine healing. Due to his apparent ability to reveal past and present events (including embarrassing sins) of peoples lives coupled with the various testimonies of divine healing proved to the less astute that God was indeed with Branham. In their minds, God was confirming Branham’s word with signs following (see Mark 16:20).

 In 1947 a Pentecostal minister named George Hawtin, the head of what was then called “The Sharon Work” in North Battleford, Saskatchewan and several students and faculty attended a Branham meeting they even received an impartation from Branham through laying on of hands. Hawtin and his followers went back to their school marveling at what they had seen and experienced. At the same time a book written by Franklin Hall, a Pentecostal teacher and healer was being widely circulated among Pentecostal believers entitled “Atomic Power with God through Prayer and Fasting.” (2) Hall claimed that God was not only restoring all the sign gifts back to the Church (nothing new in that claim) but that He was going to cause a group of super-saints to arise, believers who would be physically immortal!

 These super-saints, aka manifest sons of God (3) (see Rom. 8:19) literally will take dominion over the entire world and then present it, a Christianized planet to the returning Jesus.

 The Branham encounter and Hall’s writings had a profound effect on George Hawtin and in the summer of 1948 the Sharon Brethren held a revival meeting which attracted that generation’s hungry sign-seekers (read Jesus’ opinion of such in Matt. 12:39) Hawtin and ministers interpreted the advent of Branham, Hall’s revelations, and the subsequent revival meeting at Sharon as being proof that what was happening to the Church was nothing less than the beginning of the outpouring of God’s “Latter Rain.”

 Please understand that sign-gift people throughout Church history have interpreted the Pentecost of Acts 2 as being the “former rain” of God’s which would vastly overshadow anything done in the time of the former rain (see Hosea 6:3; Joel 2:23).

 Almost every group of restorationists have claimed that their group was the recipient of the “latter rain.” The heretic Montanus (4) in approximately 170 AD was one of the first sign-gift restorers to make such claims. Edward Irving in England, thought he and his group were oing to restore the Church. In America, Alexander Dowie claimed to be Elijah, the Restorer in his “holy” city of Zion, IL. He had planned to build Zion’s all over the world, but after his declaration of being Elijah he was stricken with a stroke, and his plans to establish the Kingdom of God on earth never materialized. The people at Azusa widely claimed to be receiving the latter rain. David Wesley Myland wrote the first Pentecostal treatise on this belief entitled “The Latter Rain and Pentecostal Power.” (5) Now almost exactly 40 years later a new generation of sign-gift folks were laying claim to being those chosen to receive the latter rain of God’s Spirit! These extremists made such a strong claim regarding the latter rain, that their fledgling movement became known as “The New Order of the Latter Rain”.

Restoration of the Church Is Key

Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your 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 time 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.

Ever since Montanus various people have risen up claiming that God is restoring some facet of “lost” truth through them. This is particularly true for Latter Rain disciples. Jesus must remain in the heavens until God has restored all things lost to the Church. One thing all the restorationists agree about is that the Church has been a failure. The Body of Christ seems to have trouble holding onto things the Spirit of God reveals to it. Ultimately such beliefs cast aspersions upon the Head of the Body, which is Christ Jesus.

 Bill Hamon, who can probably be rightly considered the father of the modern prophetic movement has written prolifically on the theme of this alleged end-time restoration of the ministry of the prophet and apostle. Naturally, he himself is a restored prophet, who has recently received the mantle of apostle. According to Hamon, there are nine distinct eras in which God has successively restored “lost” truths to the Church.

 Not only is the Acts 3:19 text used as proof of the need for restoration, the Prophetic Movement teachers also cite Hebrews 6:1-2 to further bolster their argument:

 Therefore, leaving the principles of the doctrine of Chrison unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. Hebrews 6:1-2

Hamon and the other Latter teachers interpret this text to be dispensational in the following manner:  

 When the first six doctrines are restored, then the seventh one, ultimate perfection, can be restored. Doctrine number five, the resurrection of the dead, and number six, eternal judgment, will produce a Church restoration movement before the general resurrection and the great white throne eternal judgment. (9)

Hamon continues to write in his book that it is the Prophetic & Apostolic Movements which will be the key to bringing about the restoration of doctrines 5 & 6 which then ultimately bring to pass number 7, ultimate perfection.

 Under the larger aegis of “restoration,” the Latter Rain Movement of the late 1940’s and early 1950’s had other specific doctrinal beliefs, which have become part of the Charismatic movement in general.

** Some of the major distinctions, which separate them from the orthodox Church, are:

 Restorationism –This further development of restoration theology viewed God as progressively restoring truths to the church since the Reformation.

 Fivefold MinistryThe teaching that God is restoring apostles and prophets to the church to function with the three other gifted offices: evangelists, pastors, and teachers (Eph. 4:11). Apostles and prophets provide direction with new revelation that will play a major role in paving the way for Christ’s second coming. Remember that Jesus cannot return until the prophets & apostles are fully functioning. Hamon goes so far as to make dispensations oout of these to in the following manner.

 Laying on of the HandsA ritual by which the restored apostles and prophets are “anointed” to impart the Holy Spirit and other spiritual blessings and gifts to yielded vessels.

 ProphecyViews the practice of “personal prophecy” as being restored to the church. Prophecy would no longer be restricted to general words of exhortation, but would include personal detailed revelations for guidance and instruction. Prophecy is also given to entire congregations for direction. All “Spirit-filled” Christians can prophesy, but not all are called to be prophets.

 Recovery of True Worship The belief that God’s manifested presence is dependent upon a certain order of worship involving singing in tongues, clapping, shouting, singing prophecies, and a new order of praise dancing. It is common in most charismatic services to have long praise and worship services, which will include corporate singing in tongues, corporate dancing, as well as dance “ministry.” Waving banners, pageantry, ritualized dance are all seen as a restored truths.

 Immortalization of the Saints The belief that those believers moving in the truth of Latter-Rain restoration, not necessarily all in the church, will attain an immortal state before Jesus returns. This message has been toned way down and it is not currently being taught openly, but it is discussed in private pastor level meetings.

 Unity of the FaithThe doctrine that the church, usually perceived to be a band of overcomers in neo-Pentecostal ranks, will attain unity in the faith before Christ returns. The main hindrance to this unity is doctrine. Bible doctrine divides believers, thus all that divides must be set aside and people must unite around the truths (doctrines) being currently revealed by the restored prophets and apostles.

Deliverance Latter Rain disciples emphasized a strong belief in the power of demons to inhabit Christians. Christians could be demon possessed and various “deliverance” churches and ministries sprang up to cast demons out of believers.

 By 1950 these basic tenets of the New Order of the Latter Rain (NOLR) had become dogma to many sign-seekers. However, all was not happiness and joy within the Pentecostal arena. Branham was teaching that all denominations (including Pentecostal ones) were the great whore of Babylon and that true believers must come out from among them in order to be saved.

The Sharon brotherhood was busy telling people that they were the only ones authorized to impart gifts (various other ministries began to claim this ability too). These concepts decimated the Assembly of God denomination. Many A/G pastors left their denomination and became independent congregations and placed themselves under the authority of the new prophetic presbytery of the Sharon brotherhood.

This problem was so severe that the A/G leadership in 1950 held a conference and the leadership produced a statement that denounced the doctrines of the NOLR as heretical. Some pastors returned to the A/G and it seemed that much of the initial energy of the NOLR was diminished. NOLR teachers were more or less shunted to the sideline of the sign-gift believers…yet they did not stop teaching and writing books.

 Even though the A/G’s stand for doctrinal truth was commendable, the damage had already been done. The “genie” of restored prophets, and later on apostles, had been let out of the proverbial bottle and there was no way to get him to go back in. Hundreds of independent latter rain congregations were being formed apart from any denominational oversight and from these churches the errors of the NOLR were propagated and expanded.

 In 1952, after reading Hall’s book on how to gain “Atomic Power” from God Hamon dedicated himself to fasting. After a long fast, a prophet came to his church and spoke a word over him, a word that changed the direction of his life.  What as the result of this  prophetic encounter? “For some thirty years later, Bill would be raised up as a pioneer and a worldwide leader in restoring the offie and ministry of the prophet into Christ’s Church with full recognition and authority.” (11) Here is one of Hamon’ more famous revelations: 

 That company of prophets is being raised up in the 1980’s. God revealed to me that there are 10,000 prophets on the North American continent along being prepared to be released within the Church. (12)  

In the 6,000 years of recorded biblical history there are less than 30 individuals named as genuine prophets of the Lord! Yet, Hamon says “God” revealed to him that there are 10,000 prophets in America alone. Hamon’s revelation is more in line with the Bible where it says:

 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

A plethora of false prophets invaded the early church and now 2,000 years later, we are again being inundated with these deluded people.

Hamon is the individual who is behind the very lucrative concept of holding “School of the Prophets” seminars where people can come for a very high fee and have the prophetic gift imparted to them or released by Hamon or the other prophets participating in the meeting.  Remember Hamon is the product of an independent latter rain church that is why he firmly believes he has the ability to bestow spiritual gifts and/or release them in the sign-seekers life 

 When the prophet lays hands on and prophesies gifts and callings to a person, his words have the Christ-gifted creative ability to impart, birth, and activate that ministry into the member. (13)

 

The Role of the Prophet Today

 The prophets have been given the anointing and responsibility to receive from Christ the proper revelation and application of these Scriptures. They are hidden from the eyes of men until God’s time for that truth to be restored and established. (14)

The Scriptures Hamon refers to concern those truths, which must be restored so Jesus can return (see Acts 3:19). It is the restored prophet(s) who alone will receive the proper revelation of the Bible and also the proper application of these texts. This is why the Church needs to receive these prophetic men and women. They are the ones who will guide the Church into perfection.

 The prophets prepare the way for the second coming of Christ by bringing revelation knowledge on the Scriptures that must be fulfilled before Christ can return. The Church apostles and prophets have been commissioned with that anointing and responsibility. (15)

Prophets do not need to attend seminary or have any formal education whatsoever. What they teach comes to them by divine revelation of God Himself. The prophets today are here to give the Church the “correct” insight and interpretation of the Bible. What is more, these restored prophets claim all the power and authority of the biblical prophets:

 Church prophets function in all the ministries of the Old Testament prophets, as well as the New Testament gift of the prophet standing in the role of Christ, the Prophet. (16)

 The modern day prophets are parallel to those of the Old Testament. (17)

They declare that they operate in the same manner and same authority as both Old and New Testament prophets. Yet they do not hold themselves to the same biblical standard which governed the words of the Bible prophets.

 The full restoration of apostles and prophets back into the Church will then bring divine order, unity, purity and maturity to the corporate Body of Christ. The saints will be equipped and activated in the supernatural power of God to be a witness and demonstration to all nations of the powerful kingdom of God. That will in turn bring about the end of this world system of humanity and Satan’s rule. The fulfillment of all these things will release Christ. (18)

 The role of prophets and apostles today is to bring divine order, unity, purity and spiritual maturity to the Church. Well, if Hamon is correct and the prophetic movement was “officially” inaugurated in 1980, they have had 22 years to begin this process. Do we see any manifestation of these claims? Is there any more “divine order” in the Church? How about unity in the Body (Brownsville, the revival vortex in America just went through an ugly split? What about purity? Recently more international charismatic leaders have gotten divorces and remarried. Not to mention the recent exposures of Mr. LIARdon’s homosexual behavior, which DMI broke to the public and “prophet” Paul Cain another now known homosexual. Sadly, purity is not on the increase. What about spiritual maturity? Since the charismatic movement is in disorder, it is not unified by any stretch of the imagination, it is being led by men and women of questionable ethics and morality one can hardly claim any degree of spiritual development. In fact, just the opposite has been taking place. I can speak as one who has personally witnessed the downward spiral the renewal movement has been undergoing for the last twenty years.

 God’s miraculous power will increase in the prophets until the Creator himself will arise in them and speak His creative word that can turn dust into living lice. After the third encounter, the magicians and diviners were no match for God’s prophet Moses, and the same will be ture of God’s prophets today (Exodus 5-12). (19)

According to Hamon the prophets today not only have the same authority when they speak as the biblical prophets, they will also have the same miracle working power of God operating in their lives too. As my granny used to say, “put up or shut up.” Where are these creative miracles? What New Testament verses point to anything that Hamon is claiming? Absolutely none! Here are some verses to look up regarding what the New Testament has to say about prophets —Matt. 7:15; Matt. 24:1; Matt. 24:24; Mark 13:22; 2 Peter 2:1-3; 1 John 4:1

 When the prophet lays hands on and prophesies gifts and callings to a person, his words have the Christ-gifted creative ability to impart, birth, and activate that ministry into the member. ((13)

The Bible is also very clear about unfulfilled prophecies. False prophets are “full of hot air.” They prophesy events or hearings that are difficult to disprove. Much like a horoscope, many “words of knowledge” are nothing but generalized predictions that might find hundreds of “fulfillments.” And yet, particularly in end-time prophesy, many modern seers have made repeated predictions that have been demonstrated false. This is a serious matter as far as God is concerned. “If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the Lord does not take place or come true.” God instructed Moses, “that prophet has spoken presumptuously. Do not be afraid of him” (Deuteronomy 19:22).

 The true prophet, Jeremiah, recorded God’s lamentation over the false prophets: “I have heard what the prophets say who prophesy lies in my name. They say, ‘I had a dream! I had a dream!’ How long will this continue in the hearts of these lying prophets, who prophesy the delusions of their own minds?” (Jeremiah 23:25,26). Furthermore, God even gives us instructions as to how we should respond to presumptuous prophets:

 If a prophet or priest or anyone else claims, “This is the oracle [word] of the Lord,” I will punish that man and his household. This is what each of you keeps on saying to his friend or relative: “What is the Lord’s answer?” or “What has the Lord spoken?” But you must not mention “the oracle (revelation) of the Lord” again, because every man’s own word becomes his oracle and so you distort the words of the living God, the Lord Almighty, our God. Jeremiah 23:34-36

God is weary now, as He was then, of self-appointed prophets who claim to speak for God. 

Copyright © 2011 Robert S. Liichow

End Notes

1. That the World May Know (Atlanta: K Dimension, 1987), p. 10

2. Ibid., p. 142

3. Ibid., p. 144

4. Paulk, Satan Unmasked (Atlanta: K Dimension, 1984), p. 190

5. Ibid., p. 187

6. Ibid., p. 183

7. Ibid.

8. Ibid.,

9. Paulk, That the World May Know, p. 125

10. Paulk, Satan Unmasked, p. 170

11. Robert Tilton, God’s Miracle Plan, p. II

12. Correspondence on file with CURE (Christian United for Reform).

13. Paulk, Satan Unmasked, p. 294

 The previous article is taken from Rev. Liichow’s book entitled “Blind Guides The Prophetic Movement Past & Present” which is currently under revision.

 One fact about the “pathetic” movement is that these people breed faster than rabbits in Australia; which is exceedingly fast if you don’t know. New voices have risen up declaring themselves to be prophets and they are having a devastating effect in many Christians lives. Let me close by saying I have not forgotten our series on the Eternality of the Liturgy nor have I forgotten lil Burpo’s revelations of heaven. Stay tuned these articles are coming along.

  

 





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.

scanHandCD0001

 

 





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





Rekindling An Extinguished Flame (Making Money Off A Memory)

15 10 2009
Truth Matters Newsletters – February 2007 – Vol. 12 Issue 2 – Rekindling An Extinguished Flame (Making Money Off A Memory) by Rev. Bob Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

Rekindling An Extinguished Flame

(Making Money Off A Memory)

By Rev. Bob Liichow

scanAAALLEN0001

This month’s issue of Charisma magazine had several things which caught my eye, but two advertisements really speak to where the emphasis is within the Charismatic Movement today. On page 62 of the February, 2007 issue of Charisma you can read the following information from a three-quarter page ad:

A.A. Allen’s

Miracle Valley

Resurrected

Resurrection Glory Tent Revival

February 21-25th, 2007

‘Miracles, Healings, Signs and Wonders once again at

Miracle Valley, Arizona.

A Generation later God is now restoring this massive

Well

Of Glory and Power! (1)

Naturally, two names come to the forefront when you consider A.A. Allen’s legacy, R.W. Schambach and Don Steward both of which can be seen on “Christian” television on a regular basis. Schambach is a regular guest on TBN and is brought out especially during Beg-a-thons because he appeals to the “old school” Pentecostals due to him being one of the last roving tent revivalists. Don Stewart has his own television broadcast. Both men will on occasion mention A.A. Alan’s name in passing to let their viewers know they walked with a General of Pentecostal power. Roberts LIARdon devotes an entire chapter to A.A. Alan in his book “God’s Generals.”

As I read down through the Charisma ad, which has a large picture of A.A. Allen in the upper left corner, I expected to read that either R.W. or Stewart were going to be speakers or hosting the event due to their being Allen’s former right and left hand men. Yet neither person is involved with the “Resurrection Glory Tent Revival.”

Could this be because the ad states that “God is now restoring this massive well of Glory and Power,” meaning that Allen’s mantle of miracle power did not fall upon Schambach or Stewart? With the death of Allen did the “masive well” of God’s power run dry and only now is being restored? First, we would have to agree that at some point there was a massive well of power in Miracle Valley, AZ. Secondly, we’d have to agree that the well through which this miracle power flowed was no less than Asa A. Allen.

I find a couple of interesting comparisons between charismatic extremists and Roman Catholicism. First, both groups believe there is or can be places where God moves specifically. For the Roman Catholic it may be dipping in the water at Lourdes, France or staring at the Sun on a hilltop in Medjugorie, Bosnia-Hercegovina. For the charismatic extremist it might be Azusa Street. CA. or the graves of Aimee Semple McPherson and Kathryn Kuhlman. Benny Hinn visits both tombs to re-charge his alleged anointing. (2) It seems that the final resting place of A.A. Alen’s is the latest place where people can come and receive miracles, healings and signs and wonders once again! A second comparison between these two groups is the belief in some form of “apostolic succession.” For the Roman Catholic that belief is centered on the office of the Pope. For the extremist it is a belief that God’s power can be bestowed from one anointed minister into another lesser anointed one. This is why many younger ministers will often mention how hands were laid upon them by some past (or current) man or woman of faith-N-power! I might as well add a third comparison between these groups of professing believers, that of the power of human mediators. For the Roman Catholic it can be a host of deceased saints, the Virgin Mary being the greatest of all mediators in their minds. Charismatic extremist televangelists foster the belief that their prayers are especially efficacious. Oral Roberts built an empire based on this misguided belief. Ever since he built his prayer tower he has used it as a tool to garner millions of dollars from God’s gullible saints. I mean, after all , if Oral is going to shut himself in with God to pray for me specifically, then surely God will answer my prayer request (along with other millions or so Oral will personally bring “before God.”). Hinn does the same thing on his television broadcasts when he and his guest or henchman will all lay their hands on the huge stack of prayer requests and prey on., I mean pray “for” God’s needy saints.

Since the advertisement states that “once again” this massive well of glory and power is being restored it behooves us to ask the question was A.A. Allen ever such a well of glory and power during his ministry?

A Little Stroll Down Memory Lane

It has been over thirty years since Allen died so many of our readers may not remember or even know who he was back in the day, as we like to say on the eastside of Detroit regarding the past. As the old adage says, “those who don’t learn from history are destined to repeat it” is certainly true regarding Allen and all the fake-healers that preceded and proceeded from him.

aaallen1

Allen claims to have received Christ at a Methodist meeting in 1934 and within a couple of years he became part of the Assembly of God (AOG) in 1936 and began ministering with them at that point. While an AOG Evangelist Allen in the mid to late 1930’s Allen claimed to have shut himself literally in a closet and fasted and prayed asking the Lord for the secret of His power. Allen claimed that God honored his prayers and revealed to him what the price tag was for miracles:

‘…When the last requirement was written down on the list, God spoke once again, and said: ‘This is the answer. When you have placed on the altar of consecration and obedience the last thing on your list, you shall not only heal the sick, but in My name shall you cast out devils, you shall see mighty miracles as in My Name you preach the Word, for behold, I give you power over all the power of the enemy…At last, here was the price I must pay for the power of God in my life and ministry. THE PRICE TAG OFFER THE MIRACLE-WORKING POWER OF GOD! (3)

“God” revealed to Allen thirteen works he had to do and when he had done all 13 of them, then God’ power would flow in his life. Allen only revealed eleven of the thirteen to is followers, saying that the last two had to do with “pet sins” in his life.

However, it was not until he participated in an Oral Roberts tent miracle revival meeting in 1949 that Allen got into the flow amidst a field of almost 200 other roving healing revivalists:

While attending an Oral Roberts Tent revival in 1949, Allen felt a burden to reach the lost with the miracle-working power of God and he soon hit the revival trail. Allen would be part of the “Golden-Era of Tent Evangelism,” that flourished between the end of World War Two and the mid-1960s. (4)

aaallenpulpit

I can’t say for a certainty whether or not Allen “felt a burden” or not. When we consider his history and the fruit he brought forth it seems more likely that he believed he could do what Roberts did. Allen saw the large offerings being taken by Roberts, saw him lay his “anointed” right hand on the sick in healing lines, heard the standard Pentecostal revival preaching (Roberts was still Pentecostal at that point in time, he later left the Pentecostals and became a Methodist) and no doubt thought “I can do that too.” So Allen transformed himself into “A.A. Allen, healing evangelist” with the AOG. Allen stayed with the AOG until 1955 when they defrocked him and took his ministerial license away due to him being arrested in Knoxville,TN on a drunk driving charge. Instead of facing the charges in court, he jumped bail and fled the state (R.W. Schambach was with Allen as they fled the state). (5)

In true Latter Rain style (keep in mind by 1955 the New Order of the Latter Rain was in full gear) Allen simply re-ordained himself and started up as an independent ministry calling it the “Miracle Revival Fellowship,” along with the biggest tent of all the tent revivalists, he hit the road and hit pay dirt.

In 1955 Allen purchased a tent for $8,700 that would seat over ten thousand people , and Allen was soon one of the major healing evangelists on the revival circuit. Allen’s revival meetings were similar to the other leading evangelists of the time (such as Jack Coe, Oral Roberts, and William Branham) where there would be an extended time for music and testifying, then a sermon, then an appeal for those in need to come forward and be prayed for. Allen opened his revival meetings to all races, and his interracial meetings drew criticism, but Allen used the criticism as a platform to preach upon. (6)

Later Allen cut the tent up and sold pieces of it as point-of-contact devices saying that the tent had absorbed healing power from all the miracles that transpired under it (and you thought some Roman Catholics were superstitious)! In 1958, Allen purchased the largest of all the tents on the circuit, he bought Jack Coe’s tent which seated 22,000. Coe had died in 1956, so Allen got the tent for a good price, but he was “visionary” enough to see the future of revivalism. Not long after he purchased the huge tent, Allen was given 1,280 acres of land in Arizona by Urbane Lienen Decker. This large tract of desert land was soon to become Allen’s headquarters and he renamed this land “Miracle Valley.”

Miracle Valley, Arizona, is at the base of the Huachuca Mountains in the southeast corner of the state. There, Allen had his own airfield, a Cessna 150 aircraft, a record company (with 47 albums going), a 3,000 seat church, and a telephone prayer center. He appeared on 58 radio stations daily, and on 43 TV stations weekly…Miracle Magazine, a monthly publication with a circulation of 350,000 was produced and printed at Miracle Valley. (7)

Allen saw the future was in radio, television and print media’s and he was one of the first of the modern “televangelists.

Allen became one of the first to develop a national television ministry and broadcast prophecies and deliverances from demons over the airwaves. Allen is credited with helping to start over four hundred churches and led a revival in the Philippines. Allen also founded a Bible School in Miracle Valley, to fulfill his visions; ‘a place where thousands could be trained up to deliver the Word of God to the multitudes in need’. At a revival meeting on Jauary 1st, 1958, at Phoenix, Arizona Urbane Leign Decker, a recent convert and Spirit filled, approached Allen and offered him 1280 acres (5.2 km) of the finest land in Arizona, free of charge and with no strings attached. Within days a deed was recorded in the name of A.A. Allen Revivals, Inc. at the Cochise County Courthouse. (8)

Allen was pulling in around 4 million a year, which back then was a great deal of money, naturally I realize this in no way compares to Mr. Hinn’s one hundred (100) million + dollars per year today. Yet back in the late 1950’s and through the 1960’s a million dollars was a lot of money. In 1969 reporters from Look magazine wrote an article on Allen. These reporters concluded that Allen’s greatest miracle power was his unique ability to separate bills from billfolds. Let me cite James Randi again regarding this “power” of Allen:

He was very good at that. In his heyday, he claimed he sent out over 55 million copies of his publications from his mail room every year. He sold water from his Pool of Bethesda in Miracle Valley to customers all over the world. Said Allen of this commodity, ‘People are being healed instantly while they sip it as an act of faith’ Containers of plain dirt from the valley were also sold though no instructions went along with them. The reverend displayed demons in glass mason jars, sealed up safely and looking very, very dead. Allen told the faithful that those the preserved specimens might look to some insensitive, unbelieving folks like ordinary toads, snakes, and spiders, they were actually disease demons. (9)

Delivering folks from demons was one of Allen’s stock-in-trade shticks. However, Allen could not deliver himself from the demon of alcoholism and substance abuse. What is sad is that those closest to him did nothing to stop his self-destruction. R.W. Schambach and Don Stewart had to have known about this problem in Allen’s life, but both have kept silent and denied his alcoholism to this very day. I suppose they did not want to kill the “golden goose” by confronting the man of faith-and-power with his own “demons.”

During 1969 Allen was a sick man who according to Roberts LIARdon suffered from a severe arthritic condition in his knee. Somehow Roberts failed to mention the revelations in the Look article which proved Allen to be a fraud. Instead he tries to paint a sympathetic picture of a man in so much pain that he must take strong addictive drugs to combat it:

In fact, it is documented that his personal physician, Dr. Seymour Farber, prescribed Percodan, Seconal, and Valium to ease the pain and for insomnia brought on by the severity of the pain. (10)

On June 11, 1970 Allen checked into the Jack Tar Hotel in San Francisco. He made a phone call to a close friend at 9:00 P.M. who was alarmed by whatever or however Allen spoke to him, so much so that he drove over to the Hotel and got the manger to open Allen’s room with the master key. According to the Coroner’s report A.A. Allen was declared officially dead at 11:23 P.M. that evening. In the room was a bottle of whiskey and numerous bottles of prescription drugs. According to the death certificate (which DMI has an official copy ofSee at End of article) Allen died of “acute” alcoholism and fatty infiltration of the liver.” In the words of Paul Harvey, “now you know the rest of the story.”

Brothers and sisters, there is no independent recorded evidence of any creative miracles or divine healing in Mr. Allen’s ministry. We do know he was extremely sensational, so much so that almost every other revivalist stayed away from him due to his wild unsubstantiated claims. It is a fact that he jumped bail and fled TN due to a DUI charge. We know that his wife left him around 1962 in a legal separation. We know he was being sued for over $300,000 in back taxes in 1967. We know his doctor had him on highly addictive drugs, which I believe, combined with his drinking, eventually caused his death on June 11th, 1970. A.A. Allen was not a man of wonder-working power or of miracles and signs and wonders.

Yet these documented facts do not seem to matter to those holding the “Resurrection Glory Tent Revival” on the Miracle Valley property later this month. Since Schambach and steward are not involved in this meeting, who is you might ask? It is being sponsored primarily by David Herzog and his wife Stephanie. If you go to their web site www.thegloryzone.org you can read about their miracle ministry! On their site they claim jewels from heaven are manifesting in some of their meetings. They show pictures of people with their mouths gaping open showing the “gold teeth” God has supernaturally given them, etc…In other words they, like the man they esteem, Mr. Allen, seem to be totally caught up in the sensational and not the Scriptural. Naturally, on their web site there is no proof given for any of the testimonies or pictures on their web site. DMI has looked into various alleged reports of gem stones and gold teeth and we have yet to find any proof of such things. So be aware a new generation of frauds, fakes and thieves are being raised up to fill the place where Allen on stood.

Just When You Thought It Could Get No Worse

As if propping Allen up as a miracle worker was not bad enough, Charisma on the adjacent page sells a full page advertisement to “Mel Bond.” (Who you might rightly ask is Mel Bond?) According to his Ad he is a “last day Apostle of signs and wonders.” What is more, Mr. Bond is holding a school of signs and wonders, here is a portion of the ad:

Sound the Alarm

New School of Signs and Wonder

I am building an army equipped with the ministry of signs and wonders to go to the world and openly on platforms demonstrate the power of God by healing the blinded eyes, deaf ears, crippleness, incurable pain and the dead corpses to rise, ALL INSTANTLY THAT THE Father may be glorified in the Son (John 14:12-14).   (11)

DMI is in fact “sounding the alarm” that another flake is on the loose. I’m sorry if I do not sound very merciful towards Mr. Bond, but I have yet to see the Scripture so openly and obviously twisted and misstated as his ad proclaims. What is worse is that this nonsense passed the inspection of the Editors of Charisma magazine. They see no problem at all with the above statement. Bond goes on to say the following:

According to God’s Word, God is waiting on the ministry of Signs and Wonders to bring in the masses throughout the world and then the rapture will take place (Joel 2:28-32; Rev. 4:6; 5:9). In this one week of schooling I will teach & demonstrate (1 Cor. 2:4,5) in the classroom how to see in the spirit world, how to feel God’s anointing, how to place God’s anointing into physical bodies for instant miracles, and how to release God last days anointing for Signs and Wonders. At the end of the week together, you will have learned to do the same. (12)

Oh really? Where does the Bible speak of a “last days anointing? It seems in order to move this hitherto unknown anointing one simply needs to attend Mr. Bond’s class? It is not a question of the sovereign good pleasure of God, nor is it up to the Holy Spirit to bestow His gifts as He wills (1 Cor. 12:7). No, friends in these dark and evil last days it takes only a week of instruction by one of God’s restored Last Day Apostles {drum roll please} “Apostle Mel Bond.”

In Matthew 12:39 Jesus answered His crowd saying “A wicked and adulterous generation asks for a miraculous sign! But none will be given it except the sign of the prophet Jonah.” God has never used signs and wonders to create saving faith in people. The Israelites saw daily miracles and yet the entire generation could not enter into the promised land due to their unbelief, except Joshua and Caleb. The genuine Apostle, the Apostle Paul said that faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God (Rom. 10:17). The same Apostle said that the Gospel is the POWER OF GOD unto salvation to everyone who believes (Rom. 1:16).

Last Days Anointing for Signs and Wonders?

Mr. Bond claims that the rapture cannot and will not occur until the “ministry of Signs and Wonders” brings in the masses of lost throughout the world. Oh really? What saith the Scriptures?

Jesus asks quite clearly that when He returns to earth will He find faith (Luke 18:8)? It is a rhetorical question with the answer of “no.” Our Lord also says that in the last days the love of most will grow cold (Matthew 24:12). How does Mel deal with texts such as the following:

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.

For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. {Possibly interpreted ‘I am the anointed’}. 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. Matthew 24:5,10,11

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

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 Thess. 2:9-10

For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.  2 Timothy 4:3-4

Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; 2 Thess 2:3

Sorry Mel and anyone else who is counting on some great tidal wave of revival and soul-winning to occur that will precipitate the return of our Lord. If such a thing were true then the return of Christ depends upon the Church and not God’s will; which is exactly what Bond’s ad implies when it states that “God is waiting on the ministry of signs and wonders.” I’m sorry but did I miss something in reading my Bible? Where exactly is a “ministry” of signs and wonders mentioned and moreover where doe the Bible declare that anyone can be taught to flow in the supernatural gifts of the Spirit?

A plain reading of the Biblical texts show that the very end of times (which has been going on now for almost two thousand years) is a time of apostasy from genuine faith, a time when men {and women} will declare themselves to be anointed by God, a time when the love of most will grow cold towards God and each other. It will be a time of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders to deceive those seeking a sign versus the God behind the sign. The end times will be a time when multitudes will gather to themselves teachers that suit their own fleshly lusts and desires, i.e. people teaching things they want to hear as opposed to what the Bible actually teaches. Humm…maybe we are in those times.

Let me close out this sad episode of deception by letting you know that Mr. Benny Hinn, not to be outdone by an “unknown” like Mel Bond also is now offering a “Signs and Wonders School of Ministry.” Unlike Bond’s Mr. Hinn offers his school online and at a cost. Mel Bond’s school is free: the only cost is room, board and travel to his home base located at 140 N. Point Prairie, Wentzville, MO. So all DMI Missouri readers, if you live near Wentzville consider these dates: March 26-30 or October 22-26 of this year to attend a week of classes on how to become a super-raising the dead and lifting wallets saint of the Most High!!

Copyright © Robert S. Liichow

 

allen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

End Note

1 Charisma, February, 2007, p. 62. Bold type and underlining added for emphasis.

2. In an April 7,1991 sermon, Hinn revealed that he periodically visits Kuhlman’s grave and that he is one of the few with a key to gain access to it. He also visits Aimee’s grave. Where he says: “I felt a terrific anointing…I was shaking all over…trembling under the power of God…’Dear God, ‘ I said, ‘I feel the anointing…I believe the anointing has lingered over Aimee’s body.” Obtained from http://www.deceptioninthechurch.com/bhinn.html on 01-2007

3. Liardon, Roberts God’s Generals, Tulsa, OK: Asbury Publishing, 1996, p. 390.

4. Obtained from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A._A._Allen on 01-28-07

5. Randi, James. The Faith Healers, Prometheus Books: Buffalo, New York. 1987, p.85

6. Obtained from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A._A._Allen on 01-28-07 underlining added for emphasis.

7. Randi, James. The Faith Healers, Prometheus Books: Buffalo, New York. 1987, p.84

8. Obtained from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A._A._Allen on 01-28-07

9. Randi, James. The Faith Healers, Prometheus Books: Buffalo, New Yor. 1987, p. 87.

10. Liardon Roberts, God’s Generals, Tulsa, OK: Asbury Publishing, 1996, p. 408.

11. Charisma, February, 2007, p. 63. Bold type and underlining added for emphasis

12. Ibid. Italics, underlining and bold type added.





I Am OUTRAGED

19 09 2009

Truth Matters Newsletters – November 2006 – Vol. 11 Issue 11 – I AM OUTRAGED – by Robert S. Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

I AM OUTRAGED

scanOutragedseal0001

                                By Robert S. Liichow

Outrage Defined

indignation a feeling of righteous anger Shock: strike with disgust or revulsion re: “the evangelists scandalous behavior of his ministry shocked the church” desecrate: violate the sacred character of a place or language: “desecrate a cemetery”, “violate the sanctity of the church.” “profane the name of God.” (1)

As an individual I generally run on a fairly even keel emotionally as much as any adult dealing with being ADHD. Even with my disability I strive to live a disciplined and organized life in may areas including emotionally. Yet within about a weeks time four incidents have taken place that literally burned my bacon in such a righteous manner that I have not even felt a twinge of remorse over what I have written or the way I felt at the time of writing you this newsletter. Some of these outrages you may be familiar with, others may not have hit your “radar” yet. In any event, consider this the “Outrageous Issue” of Truth Matters.

Ted Haggard

The title of this months article reflects a bumper sticker on the car in front of us as my wife and I pulled out of the movie theater a few nights ago. It sums up perfectly my emotional state concerning what is transpiring within the Church. There are four specific “cases” each of which has stirred up my righteous indignation and I hope that you are equally appalled over them too. Before I drop the hammer on these folks let me make it very clear that we are praying for all these individuals and the ripple effects their actions are having on their family, many Christians in the Body of Christ and the world’s view of the integrity of Christian leaders both morally and doctrinally.

scanHaggard0001

By this time you already know about the growing scandal concerning Haggard. If you are not aware of it then here is what has currently been brought to light. Ted Haggard was the senior pastor of New Life Church, a mega-church of 14,000 members in Colorado Springs, CO. He was the Presiding President of the National Association of Evangelical (NAE) which represent around thirty million evangelical Christians. He is a husband, a father of five children and a charismatic/sign-gift believer. In short, Haggard was a player in both the Church Growth Movement and conservative politics.

News of Haggard’s dismissal rocked the Christian world. Haggard was one of the evangelical movement’s most powerful leaders, and helped Colorado Springs earn the moniker of “evangelical Vatican.” He had the White House on speed dial, and Harper’s Magazine called New Life “the nation’s most powerful mega church.” Haggard had served as president of the National Association of Evangelicals, an organization that represents more than 30 million evangelical Christians, until he resigned. (2)

It was the latter arena that brought to light his hidden sins. As you know America had an election Tuesday, Haggard was a staunch and vocal advocate against same-sex marriage. That stand is one I and DMI give a hearty “amen” to. The problem in Haggard’s case was that he had been living a double-life for at least three years according to his accuser, a homosexual prostitute whom Haggard is alleged to have been having sex with:

The scandal began Wednesday when a male escort in Denver said he had an ongoing sexual relationship with an evangelical leader. By later that day, Haggard had been named as that leader. (3)

Mike Jones is the homosexual escort who “outed” Haggard not only for his homosexuality but also Jones admitted that Haggard had used and bought methamphetamine from him. The reason Jones came forth at this point in time was because he thought, rightly so, that Haggard was being a hypocrite due to his vocal stance against homosexuality while being actively engaged in it!

What is outrageous to me is that when Haggard was confronted with the allegations Jones was making he lied about it! He is on record denying the charges. In one interview he acted like he had never even heard of Mike Jones. However, Mr. Jones has Haggard’s voice on a voice-mail (which is now available for the world to hear on the Internet). Then when pressed Haggard admitted that he had purchased crystal meth at some point but threw it away.

Finally more truth was revealed when his church leaders asked him to step down due to sexual immorality (the did not mention the drug abuse). It seems at this point that many, if not all, the charges made by Jones concerning Haggard are true.

What is equally outrageous to me is that Haggard’s case response echoes three other cases of homosexual immorality within the sign-gift segment of the Church. In December, 2001 Mr. Robert LIARdon was exposed for his ongoing homosexuality with the Youth Leader of his congregation. (4)

Three months later Robert Liardon was back preaching again. In February, 2004 Latter Rain false prophet Paul Cain was exposed for his life of homosexuality and alcoholism by fellow so-called restored prophets. Lastly, on September 18, 2004 the Los Angeles Times ran a story with allegations of homosexual behavior and drunkenness on the part of Paul Crouch Sr., the Founder of the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN paid the accuser in Crouch’s case $450,000 in hush money as you may remember). (5)

In each of these cases, including Haggard, there are several outrageous similarities: (1) NONE of these men came forth voluntarily and confessed their sins. It was only when they were caught that any admission of guilt came forth. In the case of Mr. Crouch he denies to this day that any type of homosexual behavior went on, yet why then did TBN pay close to half a million dollars of donors money to the man making “false” charges? (2) Each of these leaders were and still are members of independent charismatic organizations which they ran. They had little to no genuine accountability to others around them or to any denominational affiliation. (3)The “Flip Wilson Defense” was invoked in LIARdon’s case and now Haggard’s. For those readers too young to remember the Flip Wilson Show, he had a segment where Mr. Wilson would appear in drag before a judge and say “the devil made me do it.” Here is how one of Haggard’s members cast this sordid situation:

Some people cast the situation as a struggle between good and evil and Haggard as the victim of a religious battle. “Satan may have won the battle, God will win the war. Satan is like a hunter. Satan goes for the big trophies. This is spiritual warfare, and Ted is under something the average person can’t fathom,” said Earl Beatty, who knelt at the church Saturday night. (6)

Note how Beatty views Haggard immorality —he is simply a victim of a Satanic onslaught. You, Mr. Haggard, are a “big trophy,” whereas if you or I fell into such immorality we’d be kicked to the curb immediately. I have seen this happen on numerous occasions within the sign-gift movement. The rules simply don’t apply to these superstars. If they get sick and die then it was the devil trying to stop the advancement of God’s kingdom. You or I get seriously ill and die, then we had some hidden sin or unbelief in our lives. They get divorce and remarried on other than biblical grounds; they are given a pass whereas other lowly sheep usually can’t even serve as a church janitor after a divorce.

Isn’t what the Bible teaches in James a little more plausible than Beatty’s comment regarding Haggard?

James 1:13-15: When tempted, no one should say “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed. Then after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.

Let me cite a few of the statements given by Mr. Haggard in a letter read to his congregation on Sunday, November 5, 2006: (1) Please stay faithful to God through service and giving.” The first thing on his list is that he asks his former congregation to continue to give MONEY!! Hopefully Haggard’s people have had their faith in Christ all along and thus naturally will stay faithful to Jesus.

(2) “Please forgive me. I am so embarrassed and ashamed. I caused this and I have no excuse. I am a sinner. I have fallen. I desperately need to be forgiven and healed.” Note the order, money first, then he confesses he is a sinner. Perhaps it took a fall from so lofty a height for him to realize something most biblically based Christians readily acknowledge, I.e. that they are sinners at the same time as being clothed in the righteousness of Christ.

(3) “Please forgive my accuser. He is revealing the deception and sensuality that was in my life.” Why should we forgive Mr. Jones? He did the right thing in exposing Haggard. Most certainly Mr. Jones needs to be brought to faith in Christ and delivered from homosexuality. It seems to me like Haggard is saying something akin to “forgive the police officer that caught me.” He should have asked his former congregation to pray for the redemption of Mr. Jones, not for them to forgive him!! Lastly, in point  (4) Haggard tries to make lemonade out of lemons by saying Because of the negative publicity I’ve created with my foolishness, we can now demonstrate to the world how our sick and wounded can be healed, and how even disappointed and betrayed church bodies can prosper and rejoice.” (8)

See, Haggard’s immorality is really a blessing in disguise because we (the Church) can now demonstrate to the world how our sick (Haggard) and wounded can be healed. I have news for Mr. Haggard the Church has been healing its sick and wounded for 2,000 yeas by the discipline and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Haggard has not committed the unpardonable sin and he has asked for forgiveness, even if it did not come voluntarily, and so it must be given to him. I will not doubt his contrition, for I cannot judge his heart. Nonetheless his immorality, denials, lies and attempts to deflect what he did from himself is outrageous in my eyes. Not to mention the blight he places on the rest of God’s genuinely faithful ministers who the world will tar with the same brush due to Haggard and all the other recent scandals rocking the Church.

We do pray for his restoration, but especially we pray for his wife who is understandably devastated, their five children who have to face their peers, the thousands of congregational members, many of whom were babes in Christ and without doubt “star stuck” by Haggard and may become shipwrecked due to his moral failure.

Haggard’s fall is simply more proof that allegedly possessing the sign-gifts does not make a person more anointed, powerful in Christ or holy. The fact of the matter is that the most egregious scandals to besmirch the name of our Lord have come mostly from “charismatic” believers such as Jim Bakker, Robert Tilton, Larry Lee, Jimmy Swaggert, Roberts LIARdon, Paul Cain and Paul Crouch. All of these leaders claimed to be special due to their alleged spiritual gifts, but in reality they were shown to have feet of clay, like the rest of us.

Katharine Jefferts Schori Installed As Head Of 2.3 Million Member American Episcopal Denomination

This is the next item to outage me, not because a female being ordained to lead a denomination, which in itself is unbiblical. Women have often been misplaced or taken place of authority within the Church since the false prophetesses Priscilla and Maximilla around 155 AD. It is not an outrage to see a woman holding the office of a bishop, which again biblically has been given to men. (9)

1 Tim. 3:2-5 Now the overseer must be above reproach, the husband of but one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent, but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?)

What is outrageous is her blasphemous and heretical statements concerning the Lord Jesus Christ. Before we get to her comments you should know that she endorses the ordination of homosexuals and also approves of same-sex marriages. (10) Do the following comments outrage you?

But in an interview this week with Associated Press, Bishop Katharine Jefferts-Schori — who is to be installed on Saturday as the first female presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church USA — stated that Christians should not say that Jesus is the only way to God. “If we insist we know the one way to God,” she said, “we’ve put God in a very small box.” (11)

Jefferts-Schori says she views salvation as the healing of all Creation through holy living. “I understand salvation as being about the healing of the whole creation. Your part and my part in that is about holy living.” she offered. “As Christians we understand [salvation] as relationship with God in Jesus, but that does not mean that we’re expected to judge other people’s own commitments. (12)

Katharine Jefferts Schori preached her first sermon to the Episcopal Church General Convention as presiding bishop-elect, she announced, “Our mother Jesus gives birth to a new creaton and we are his children. (13)

How a historical mainline Protestant denomination could elect a pro-gay female bishop who denies that Jesus Christ is the only way to eternal life is an outrage. If she is allowed to remain in that position then all those congregations that submit willingly to her authority can no longer be considered part of the Christian Church.

We disagree about many things within the Church visible, but one thing about our belief that cannot be compromised is that salvation is found through grace alone, by faith alone, through Christ alone, according to the Scriptures alone and to God alone be all the glory. Any deviation from these obvious Apostolic doctrines places an individual, congregation or even denomination outside the orthodox Christian religion.

Katharine Jefferts-Schori, I do insist that Jesus Christ is in fact the only way to God simply because this is what God the Son Himself stated:

John 14:6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

John 17:3: And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.

JN 20:31 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.

Acts 4:12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

We can disagree over the mode of baptism, how often to celebrate the Lord’s Supper or which translation of the Bible to use…but salvation by grace through faith in Christ alone is NON-NEGOTIABLE. What part of Acts 4:12 is the presiding Bishop so obtuse to not understand? If this is the last thing I ever write you please understand this simple fact:

Two Statements Can Be Untrue, But Two Contradictory Statements Cannot Both Be True. “A” Is “A” And Cannot Be Non “A”

Truth by its very nature demands the exclusion of all other claims which contradict it. Either Jesus is who He said He was or He is notDMI chooses to draw a line in the sand right here. This issue right here is a make or break fellowship issue for us. I have a pastor friend in Detroit whose congregation is part of the American Episcopal Church, in fact, my mother-in-law’s funeral was held in his congregation’s sanctuary and if he agrees to submit to this heretic’s authority, then we will have no further fellowship, it is that serious to me personally and it breaks my heart but I and DMI fears God more than seeks the applause and friendship of man. The Apostle John is quite clear as is Paul in his letter to Titus on this matter and his admonition to Timothy:

2 John 1:9-11 Whosoever transgresseth and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your home, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deed.

Titus 3:10-11 A man that is an heretic after the first and second admonition reject; Knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself.

2 Tim 3:5: Having the form of godliness, but denying the power: from such stay away.

Many American Episcopal Churches have the outward form of godliness, I.e. they sing the hymns, pray, follow some form of liturgy, but deny the power of God which is found in the proclamation of the Gospel (see Rom. 1:16) by teaching that there is another pathway to eternal life apart from faith alone in Jesus.

As outrageous a stance as this woman has taken it is gratifying to report that several other bishops in the United States are appealing to the Archbishop of Canterbury seeking to come under his authority. Other American Episcopalians have placed themselves under the spiritual oversight of the African Archbishop. Both of these Archbishops represent conservative wings of the Anglican faith. The African Archbishop being the more conservative of the two, but neither one accepts homosexual ordination nor agrees with the comments of Katharine Jefferts-Schori. Please join with us in prayer that the American Episcopal Church will come to its senses and reconsider whom they’re currently elected and replace with a brother who at least abides by the original confessional stance of the Episcopalian Church. If they do not remove her, then let her and those who follow her be anathema to you.

The “Father” Fenton Fiasco

scanFENTON0001

The first two attacks on the Church that outraged me (and I hope at least concern you very deeply) are issues that possibly touch closer to your home than my third “outrage.” This one is far more personal to me in my journey from heresy to Christian orthodoxy. John Fenton was previously a confessional evangelical pastor within the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod (LCMS). As of Sunday 11-05-06, he had left the LCMS to join himself to the “Orthodox Church.” By Orthodox I mean as in the “Eastern Orthodox” branch of the Church. You might be saying to yourself, “ok, so what is the big deal? Didn’t Frankie Schaffer do the same thing after his illustrious father, Francis Schaffer died?” Some of you may be thinking “well aren’t Lutheran’s just Kissing-cousins of Roman Catholicism and the Eastern/Greek/Russian Orthodox Church just the stepbrothers of Roman Catholicism?” There is no short succinct answer to these questions. Let me just say that the Evangelical Lutheran Church (14) is not doctrinally related in many significant ways to the Roman Catholicism, the various Eastern Churches or the various Reformed and Protestant denominations. You’ll have to do your own sleuthing on this matter to see the clear distinctions between these branches of the visible Church. That said, confessional Lutherans readily and joyfully admit that God has His children scattered hither, thither and you, i.e. biblical Lutherans do not view themselves as the only genuine believers, nor do we consider the Evangelical Church to be the only true visible Body of Christ on earth.

What is outrageous about brother Fenton is that he is an intelligent man with a solid conservative seminary education; in fact, he is a graduate of Concordia Seminary, Fort Wayne, IN. He has served as a pastor within the Missouri Synod for eleven years and as of October 29, 2006 he resigned as pastor at Zion Evangelical-Church of Detroit to join the Orthodox Church of America (OCA). I will cite statements he made in his resignation letter:

However, I am convinced that the Book of Concord contains defective or deficient doctrines not in accord with the faith of the apostles. In simple terms, these deficiencies include the acceptance of an amended Nicene Creed, the notion that Jesus died to appease His Father’s wrath, a man-centered understanding of the church, the denial of prayers to the saints, and the idea that the liturgy is a man-made product. (15)

No Lutheran seminary professor or pastor I have met (and I have met quite a few over the last several years) proclaim the Book of Concord to be infallible. The LCMS does teach, believe and confess that the teachings within the Book of Concord do accurately represent biblical doctrine and orthodox Christianity. It is however never placed on the same level as the Holy Bible, nor are its contents ever appealed to over the plain teachings of the Bible.

Naturallly, the OCA, like all branches of the Eastern Church, disagrees with the western understanding of the Nicene Creed. Here is the argument in a nutshell (more or less):

The Nicene Creed introduced the word “homoousious” or “ consubstantial” meaning “of one substance.” This word was not invented at the council Eusebius writes that some of the “most learned and distinguished of the ancient bishops had made use of consubstantial in treating of the divinity of the Father and the Son. (16)

The Nicene Creed, also called the Nicaeco-Constantinopolitan Creed, is a statement of the orthodox faith of the early Christian church in opposition to certain heresies, especially Arianism. These heresies, which disturbed the church during the forth century, concerned the doctrine of the trinity and of the person of Christ. Both the Greek (Eastern) and the Latin (Western) church held this creed in honor, though with one important difference: the Western church insisted on the inclusion of the phrase “and the Son” (known as the “filioque”) in the article on the procession of the Holy Spirit; this phrase still is repudiated by the Eastern Orthodox church. In its present form this creed goes back partially to the Council of Nicea (AD 325) with additions by the Council of Constantinople (AD 381). It was accepted in its present form at the Council of Chalcedon in 451, but the “filoque” phrase was not added until 589, However, the creed is in substance an accurate and majestic formulation of the Nicene faith. (17)

All of the historic creeds were developed by the early church fathers as a means of refuting heretics and their false teachings. A simple working definition of creeds is as follows: “A creed is a brief statement of faith used to enumerate important truths, to clarify doctrinal points and to distinguish truth from error. Creeds are usually worded to be easily memorized. The word creed comes from the Latin word credo, meaning, “I believe.” (18) Creeds are simply statements of what is commonly accepted as genuine Christian dogma. Virtually all Christian bodies do accept the Apostles Creed, the Nicene Creed, the Creed of Chalcedon as well as the Athanasian Creed. (19) Apart from the Church of the Brethren, a small Anabaptist denomination whose statement is “no creed but the Bible,” this sounds pious, but actually demonstrates their ignorance of why the aforementioned creeds came into existence. It also highlights their misunderstanding regarding the place and use of the various creeds in liturgical confessional congregations.

What is the OCA (which is submitted to the authority of the Russian Orthodox Church) and Fenton’s issue with the Nicene creed as we confess it in the west? It boils down to western theologians adding a few words to clarify the Trinity because the original writing of the creed was a little fuzzy in this area:

“We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son” the debate concerned whether the Holy Spirit proceeded fro only the Father, or from the Father and the Son [filioque in Latin]. The phrase “and the Son” was not in the original Greek version of the Creed accepted at Nicaea and Constantinople. It was added in the Latin versions used in the Western (Roman) church in AD 589 as an attempt to clarify the relationship of the three person of the Trinity. The concern was that the original wording made Jesus the Christ subordinate to the Father, a view that the Western church felt endangered the doctrine of the Trinity. (20)

The Episcopalian Church has recently reverted back to the eastern version of the Nicene creed in their latest printing of the Book of Common Prayer (anything the Episcopalians do no longer surprises me).

Fenton’s next statement is equally outrageous to me when he blithely writes in opposition to “the notion that Jesus died to appease His Father’s wrath.” I am sure you have all seen the famous painting representing our Lord knocking on the outside of a cottage door? Now visualize that same painting with me standing there knocking on brother Fenton’s head!! Who does Fenton think Jesus was appeasing in His substitution death on the cross? The ransom view of the atonement is thankfully, not widely held these days (apart from the Word of Faith cultists). In this view Jesus died to purchase us back from Satan, this concept had its roots in the teaching of an early theologian named Origen, who was later condemned by the Church as a heretic not due to this teaching alone, but several others that went far beyond the pale of orthodoxy. (21) The problem inherent in Origen’s doctrine of the atonement deals with the issue of why does God owe Satan anything, especially His own Son?

The teaching of the LCMS and other truly evangelical bodies is that God sent His Son into the world (John 3:16) because of His great love for all humanity to suffer as our substitute, bearing the full brunt of God’s divine judgment that we owed due to our sin against a totally holy God. The words of an old hymn we used to sing, who name escapes me goes something like this: “I owed a debt I could not pay, He paid a debt He did not owe.” Jesus suffered and died in our place to appease the holy wrath of God by bearing in His own body the penalty for our sins. How brother Fenton could discard such an obvious truth of the Bible and embrace a heterdox view is to me outrageous.

Fenton’s next reason for departing from evangelical Christianity and going east is because Lutherans and others within Protestantism do not believe in praying to “saints.” He sure got that point of his letter correct. Lutherans and millions of other Christians do not pray to dead saints (including Mary) for one simple reason — THE BIBLE NEVER REMOTELY SUGGESTS THAT WE DO SO. Contrary to Fenton’s belief, the Bible teaches us the following:

Matthew 6:6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

Matthew 7:11 how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!

Luke 11:2 He said to them, “When you pray, say: ‘Father, hallowed be your name your kingdom come.’

John 15:16…Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.

These are merely four verses from the Gospel that I have cited. In each case we are told by God the Son to pray to the Father, to do so in the name of His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. Why didn’t Jesus say “when you pray, ask my mother, who in turn will ask Me, and I will then ask the Father.” Or why don’t we read of any of the writing Apostles saying “when I have gone on to glory, I’ll be listening for your prayers in order to intercede on your behalf before the throne of Almighty God.” What we do learn from apostolic writings are directives such as these:

Romans 8:34 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.

Hebrews 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

1 John 2:1 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not . And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:

Christ Jesus Himself makes intercession for us and as for me and my household we’d much rather have the Son of God standing in the gap for us than His mother, blessed woman that she was or even Peter and Paul. We are also told quite plainly that the Holy Spirit makes intercession for us (Rom. 8:26). As God’s own dear children in Christ we are told by the author of the book of Hebrews to come BOLDLY to the throne of grace, not to ask some dead “saint” to do it for us.

This brings me to another “outrage” concerning brother Fenton’s deflection from the pure light of God’s Word into the shadows caused by man-made doctrine…the whole eastern (Roman Catholic too) stress on “saints.” Folks we are all saints, set apart by the blood of the spotless lamb of God. No one in the New Testament is especially noted as a “saint” and the rest of the Church is full of ain’ts. Such a distinction is never made biblically, that is the impure invention of sinful man.

I close this last outrage with Fenton’s comment that he is now seeking membership in the “true visible church” on earth, I.e. the Orthodox Church of America. This is very prideful on the part of Orthodox Churches to make such a statement. If words mean anything, then every other expression of the Church visible is in fact not the true visible Church, only the Orthodox Church holds that position!

Some reading this may ask why is it that some fellow believers turn to Roman Catholicism (RC) or Eastern Orthodox (EO) expressions and jettison their former evangelical beliefs. I think the answer is both complex and simple and may differ from case to case. Over all, I believe what takes place is that people get deceived into thinking that either expression is the closest thing to New Testament Apostolic Christianity. Both of these historic expressions make this claim regarding themselves, but it is not true. The Great Schism between Eastern and Western branches of the faith were due to doctrinal issues.

Here are a few beliefs brother Fenton now embraces as “Truth”:

About Mary: “The Mother of God is often referred to as the “New Eve,” for she said “yes” to God whereas the first Eve said “no” We believe that the Mother of God was sinless of her own free will, that she remains ever virgin, and that she is the “living tabernacle” of God inasmuch as her womb, as one hymn states, becomes “more spacious than the heavens” by carrying within it the Savior of the world, Jesus Christ. (22)

Psal. 51:5 Behold, I was sharpen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.

Rom. 3:1 As it is written, There is none righteous, no not one:

1 John 1:8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.

So much about Mary’s perpetual sinlessness and perpetual virginity (Matt. 13:53).

About Icons: Orthodox people kiss them, bow to them, pray to them, Why? Inseparable from the liturgical tradition, religious art is seen by Orthodox Christians as a form of pictorial confession of faith and a channel of religious experience. this central function of religious images (icons) – unparalleled in any other Christian tradition – received its full definition following the end of the iconoclastic movement in Byzantium (843). The Orthodox theologians, on the other hand, based their arguments on the specifically Christian doctrine of the incarnation: God is indeed invisible and indescribable in his essence, but when the Son of God became man, he voluntarily assumed all the characteristics of created nature, including describability. Consequently, images of Christ, as man, affirm the truth of God’s ral incarnation, Because divine life shines through Christ’s risen and glorified humanity, the function of the artist consists in conveying the very mystery of the Christian faith through art. Furthermore, because the icons of Christ and the saints provide direct personal contact with the holy persons represented on them, these images should be objects of “veneration” (pokiness), (22)

Regardless of tradition, where is this commanded in the Bible? Our Bible commands that we make no graven images (see Deut 7:5-6)

Praying to the Dead: The saints are regarded as those who have reliably finished the course of their lives in the path of theosis. Those that are known to the Church are glorified (canonized) by incorporating their lives into the Church’s liturgical life, a recognition of Christ in them. They are venerated (shown great respect and love) but not worshiped, for worship is due to God alone. In showing the saints this love and requesting their prayers, it is believed by the Orthodox that they thus assist in the process of salvation for others. (23)

The reformation came about because Dr. Martin Luther and others wanted to reform the church and bring it back into line with the Scriptures. He, nor any other reformer ever taught that we should seek the dead on behalf of the living.

Please re-read carefully the Book of Acts and you will not find a blueprint on how to “do” Church. God by His wisdom left us a great deal of latitude in how local congregations function administratively, musically, and yes, even liturgically. For instance nothing is mentioned about wearing a collar, robes or vestments with specific colors for specific seasons of the Church calendar. Nothing is mentioned about incense, how long a sermon is to be, should candles be used or not, length of a service. Nor are we commanded to have a specific number of deacons or elders. Must we sit in pews or are folding chairs ok? Should the pastor speak from behind a pulpit or walk around the congregation as he preaches? These and a whole host of other issues are considered adiaphorous (or non essentials) by the Evangelical Church but unfortunately some portions of the church have elevated these and other non-essential traditions to having equal status with the Holy Bible.

Pray for brother Fenton, I fear he has jumped out of the pan quite literally into the fire. He will find that the Orthodox Church of America is run by sinful men, just like the LCMS, the Presbyterians, Methodists, Congregationalists, Baptist confederations, et al. There is no perfect Church on this earth, at least as long as you and I are alive.

Paula White

scan0001

While the prior events were taking place I was doing a bit of morning surfing on the television and happened across the Christian program sponsored by Paula White Ministries. Paula, when not screeching and running around a platform somewhere like a chicken on crack she has decided to try her hand at a sit-down television studio set similar to other televangelists. Some of you may not know anything about White, so allow me to cite her own PR from her website:

Paula White is a Life Coach, Motivational Speaker, Pastor, Preacher, Author, Humanitarian, Philanthropist, Teacher, TV Personality, Wife and Mother. Beneath her unassuming beauty, lies a gentle and girlish charm. (24)

Note the order of importance that she describes herself: (1) Life Coach, (2) Motivational Speaker, (3) Pastor, (4) Preacher, (5) Author, (6) Humanitarian, (7) Philanthropist, (8) Teacher, (9) TV Personality, (10) Wife and (11) Mother.

Her husband and children are last on the list. The first two are accurate, especially after what I witnesses on her television program.

What was outrageous to me was that her guests were no less than Mr. Donald Trump and his co-author, Robert Kioysaki hawking their latest best selling book entitled “Why We Want You To Be Rich.” In fact, Mrs. White had these two men for several days. During this time (paid for by Christian donors) she never once confronted them in a loving manner with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, i.e. that they were lost sinners in need of a Savior. What shocked and appalled me was that an internationally known woman “preacher” and a TBN regular would have two unrepentant heathens on her Christian program for the sole purpose of making money off the success of their book which she offers on her website ( anyone can buy it cheaper at Amazon.com). Trump has been married three times, after jettisoning wives number one and two on totally unbiblical grounds. He is well known for making much of his fortune from the gambling industry (casinos) and in short is a “prime candidate” for salvation. I do not know that much about his co-author, but he too is a multi-millionaire due to his other books and games he has created.

Brothers and sisters, there is something terribly wrong when someone who calls themselves a Christian and yet does not share the Gospel message with sinners sitting right next to them! Equally it is appalling to see irredeemable time wasted talking to men about how to get rich! The Bible plainly teaches that “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” (1 Tim 6:10). Sadly, Trump, Kioysaki and White’s goal seems to primarily self enrichment and not gaining wealth for the purposes plainly set forth in the Bible.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with having wealth or making a great deal of money in this life time if biblical realities are kept in mind:

FIRST we all need to remember that it is God (not Trump’s schemes or our own abilities) that gives us the power to get wealth (Deut. 8:18). The purpose for our wealth is NOT to buy bigger homes, fancier cars, more expensive clothing or more jewelry. God gives people the ability to get wealth to establish His covenant. The Lord knew then as He does now, how easy it is for His people fallen human beings that we are to wrongly take credit for what we have and to grasp onto it tightly as if the money He has entrusted us with was as precious as life itself.

SECONDLY, We are to use a portion of our wealth to support (25) the work and workers in the ministry (1 Cor. 16:2). In fact, the Holy Spirit has Paul remind God’s people on two occasions that they need to set aside a portion of their finances for ministry support. (1 Cor. 9.9 , 1 Tim. 5:18). In another place he says that those who preach/teach the gospel ought to make their living by their ministry work (1 Cor. 9:14). This doctrine is echoed again by Paul to Timothy especially regarding leaders who teach (1 Tim 5:17). (26)

THIRDLY We all gain wealth to some degree through the work of our hands, some make more, others less that is not the issue. What is paramount to remember is the purpose of our work. Again, we do not work to get ahead of the “Jones” or keep up with the “Copelands.” No, the purpose of our labor is so that we may have something left to give to those who lack, I.e. the poor. (Acts 10:2, Eph. 4:28).

All of these outrages seemed to occur within a week of each other, it really has caused me to consider the seriousness of the times we are living in and the need to be all the more faithful in teaching truth & exposing error.

On behalf of Discernment Ministries International let me again express my heartfelt gratitude to our Lord for raising up those of you who faithfully support our ministry. We thank you for being both obedient to our Lord with your support and generous in your giving. It continues to be our prayer that everyone who reads Truth Matters, makes use of the website or uses our materials would give some amount each month. In all honesty, DMI really has need of more financial support.

With the passing of my mother-in-law things got backlogged on every front, both in ministry and our personal lives as a family. It may be a negative confession, but all of my immediate family not only went through a period of grieving, but my wife and I also suffered from a low grad depression, which thankfully has now lifted.

With this in mind please forgive the lateness of the last issue of Truth Matters, a few folks might still be waiting to receive a book or CD (they are on the way!), not to mention the delayed sending out of quarterly giving statements. If by the time you read this letter and you have not received something you did order PLEASE let me know (call me collect, and I will rectify it as quickly as possible.

I realize that some ministers would never publicly admit to such things, but I learned a great lesson from Kevin Butcher, a friend, fellow pastor and mentor who taught me that value of taking the risk, of being transparent to those you love and serve along with the truth of striving to be a human being versus a human doing. Thanks Kevin, those are lessons I will not forget. ♦

Copyright © 2006 Robert S. Liichow

End Notes:

1. Obtained from http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=defineoutrage&sa=X&io=glossary_definition&ct=title.

2. Colorado Springs Gaette, by Paul Asay, Bill Vogrin and Deedee Corell, Haggard Dismissed, 11-03-2006

3. Ibid

4. DMI was one of the first Apologetic ministries to expose Mr. LIARdon the date for his outing was obtained from http://www.christian-witness.org/archive/van2003/bilby_restor16.html

5. Los Angeles Times, Andrew Gumbel, September 18, 2004

6. Ibid. Bold type added for emphasis.

7. Please understand that I cite “church janitor” as merely an example of a lowly position (in some people’s eyes) as opposed to that of the pastor/prophets/apostle. I am in no way denigrating the often unseen and thankless task of those who keep the church buildings clean.

8. Colorado Springs Gazette, Ted Haggard’s letter to New Life Church, November 5, 2006. Underlining added for emphasis.

9. It is beyond the scope of this article to consider the roles of men and woman within the church. I know many women who are very gifted and I respect them. Yet God’s Word is the guide by which all our faith and practice is to be judged by and women simply are not called to serve as pastors, elders, bishops, or teachers over men.

10. This is according to an article on her ordination located at http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/11/04/national/main2153338.shtml

11. Agape Press, by Jody Brown and Allie Martin, Comments by Jefferts-Schori During Interview Appear to Contradict Scripture, 11-02-06. Bold type added for emphasis.

12. Ibid

13. Quote from Jim Tonkowich, Religion Without Foundations, writer for the Daily Standard.

14. Please understand that the Lutheran Church was originally called the “evangelical” church and was not a part of the Roman Catholic church, nor is Confessional Lutheranism a part of the Protestant reformation nor a “Reformed” church/

15. Taken from John W. Fenton, M Div., S.T.M. Letter of Resignation submitted on 10- 29-06. Underlining and bold type added for emphasis.

16. Obtained from http://www.columbia.edu/cu/augustine/arch/sbrandt/nicca.htm

17. Obtained from http://www.crcna.org/pages/nicene_creed.cfm Underlining added for emphasis.

18. Obtained from http://www.wcg.org/lit/church/pamphlet/3creeds.htm

19. For more insight into the interesting history surrounding these and other classic statements of the Christian faith you might pay a visit to the following websites: http://www.creeds.net/; http://www.wcg.org/lit/church/pamphet/3creeds.htm or http://www.cresourcei.org/creedsearly.html.

20. Statement obtained from http://www.cresourcei.org/creedsearly.html Bold type and underlining added for emphasis.

21. If anyone does not anathematize Arius, Eunomisu, Macedomius, Apollinaris, Nestorius, Eutyches and Origen, as well as their impious writings, as also all other heretics already condemned and anathematized by the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, and by the aforesaid four Holy Synods and [if anyone does not equally anathematize] all those who have held and hold or who in their impiety persist in holding to the end the same opinion as those heretics just mentioned: let him be anathema. This quotation was obtained from http://en.wikipedia.org/widi/Origen#Christology.

22. The Evangelical position is stated as follows: Lutheran teaching of the atonement stresses that God’s act is objective, taking the imitative (cf. the OT concept of the Covenant) in reaching out toward man, and that Christ’s work is vicarious in that He bears the burden of sin, which is rightfully man’s (GI 3:10-13, cf. ls. 53). Obtained from http://www.lcms.org/ca/www./cyclopedia/02/display.asp?t1=A&t2=t.

23. Obtained from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eastern_Orthodox_Church#The_Theotokos_and_the_saints on 11-08-80.

24. Obtained from http://www.oca.org/QAasp?ID=6&SID=3.

25. Obtained from http://www.paulawhite.org/about.htm.

26. When DMI and other Apologetic ministries refer to financial support please understand that we mean just that I.e. receive enough financial help to pay or feed or families, pay our bills and run our small ministries. I do not know one Apologetic or Counter-cult ministry that lives above a “middle-class” financial level, most of us, DMI most assuredly lives just above the poverty line economically speaking. I find it shameful when “ministers” receive millions of dollars personally I don’t care how “big” they are.

27. Those who preformed their functions well were worthy of “double honor [GK G5507}.” Since this word was often used in the sense of a price paid for something, it had been suggested that here it might be translated “honoraruim”. Perhaps we should allow both “honor” and honorarium” Highest honor is to be given to “those whose work is preaching and teaching.” 18. This verse, a well as the proceeding discussion of support for widows (vv. 3-16), suggests definitely that the “double honor” for elders was to be a financial remuneration. Quoting Dt. 25:4 (cf. 1 Co. 9:9) and Lk 10:7, Paul makes the point that a worker should receive compensation. Obtained from the Zondervan Reference Library CD, ver. 2.6. The New American Commentary Module.