Bad Theology Has Its Consequences

8 07 2010
Truth Matters Newsletters – July 2010 – Vol. 15 Issue 7 -Bad Theology Has Its Consequences An Updated Reprint – By Rev. Robert Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

Bad Theology Has Its Consequences

An Updated Reprint

 By Rev. Robert Liichow

One of the things DMI has stressed over the fifteen years we’ve been in this arena of ministry is that just as certainly as knowing the truth sets us free (John 8:32) when the Word of God is taken out of its proper context we will end up in bondage.

A recent example of this can be seen in the Wall street bailout debacle. Believe it or not many people who follow the Word of Faith cult’s false teaching on financial prosperity are finding themselves on the “short-end” of the stick when it comes to these subprime mortgage loans.

Some time ago I gave a short interview on Issues Etc. (10-08-08) talking with pastor Todd Wilkens about a recent article in Time magazine. The author, David Van Biema made the connection between the so called Gospel of prosperity and the Wall street crisis. Mr. Biema is correct when he wrote that many prosperity “pastors” told their congregations to “believe God” for a great interest rate and that God would bless them with great homes, etc. So many misled believers went to their banks and lo-and-behold they were offered either no money down mortgages or very low interest rates on more money than they would have ever received in the past. Naturally, the misled believers went “praise the Lord” and took the mortgages as proof of God answering their prayers and signed on the bottom line.

Now because of their following a false doctrine regarding financial wealth many are finding themselves facing foreclosure and bankruptcy. Worst of all there will be many people spiritually shipwrecked because God’s Word didn’t work for them.

Pastor Wilkens asked me how their pastors will respond to these peoples questions and needs. First of all never forget rule number one in the hyper-faith camp:

(1) It is never the pastor or teacher/prophet/apostles fault when what they taught does not work in the lives of their followers. This logically leads to rule number two:

(2) It is usually the fault of the devotee that the principle, rule or spiritual law did not work. After all, it is working I the lives of the leaders (or so they are told). So the devotee either is guilty of some hidden sin, or they only had mental assent verses spiritual faith. How can one know the difference? Only by the results, if it works, then it was “faith,” if it did not work then it was mental assent, presumption or sin on the devotees part. Lately,

(3) it could simply be the devil trying to steal the devotees “seed” (spoken confession) by tempting them to make bad confessions, ergo digging up all the good confessions they had previously made. Or the devil is engaging them in spiritual warfare, such as foreclosing on their mansions. The bottom line is this—these false shepherds always have an excuse. If the devotee gets foreclosed it is a lack of faith, if the pastor gets foreclosed it is a spiritual attack (usually solved by taking up enough offerings to pay off their shepherds debt).

Personally, I told Todd that these ill-advised loans may be a good thing in that it may be the instrument that God uses to wake these deluded sheep up. We all know the old adage “we learn more from our mistakes than our victories” carries some truth. Obviously these people were not walking in godly wisdom when they took out those loans.

People will but their heads up against a stone wall only so often and then they realize something is not working. My wife and I are prime examples. After years of confessing all the right things, going to all the seminars, running after various anointing being doled out by alleged prophets and apostles we awoke (by the grace of God) to the fact that we were chasing smoke. The prophesies spoken failed to come to pass. The miracles proclaimed were later proved to be false. The positive declarations we and others made created nothing but a false illusion that we could be our words change reality. Yes my friends we’ve been there/done that and more and I can tell you personally that bad doctrine produces bondage, misery, and takes people further from the Jesus of the Bible and not closer to Him which was our goal. I can attest in our own lives and no doubt the lives of many others, we had a sincere love for Jesus Christ. However, as I like to say “the roadmap to Cleveland will not get you to Akron,” meaning good intentions and desires do not excuse bad theology. The false teacher Norval Hayes is correct when he shouts “God don’t bless ignorance” and that is certainly true.

I began Discernment Ministries International fifteen years ago specifically to “teach truth & expose error.” We’ve personally experienced and seen the heartbreak and spiritual shipwreck of many people due to following the blind guides within charismania and by the grace of God and the help of His people we’ve been able to minister to many people via our web site, this newsletter, conferences, books, dvd’s, radio and one-on-one counseling.

DMI is very conscious of the fact that we would not be able to reach anyone without the faithful support we receive from you. We do not take any one of you for granted and we endeavor to be the best stewards of what God places in our endeavor to be the best stewards of what God places in our hands. Thank you for your support in enabling us to teach truth & expose error.

MAY THE GRACE OF THE LORD JESUS CHIRST, AND THE LOVE OF GOD, AND THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE HOLY SPIRIT BE WITH YOU ALL.

2 COR. 13:14

 

 





Happy Birthday

26 10 2009

Truth Matters Newsletters -June 2007 – Vol. 12 Issue 6 – Happy Birthday – by Tracy Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

Happy Birthday

Be encouraged on your birthday! I know that your ministry is often misunderstood by the very people you are so passionate to reach and even by those who are unconcerned in the Church. This is why I say be “encouraged” like David, you have to “encourage” yourself in the Lord” ( 1 Samuel 30:6) when discouragement comes against you. Your labor is not in vain! Remember what you have told our partners in ministry from time to time:

“For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shown toward His name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.” Hebrews 6:10

Your loving wife

Dear partners, please pray for my husband and stand with us in prayer that our gracious Lord will continue to open hearts to His truth and to raise up faithful partners in ministry. All of us know that when we do anything for our Lord there is opposition. Yet it seems to me that our enemy stridently fights against this specific facet of ministry. Pray for all those who are engaged in Apologetics and counter-cult work. Bob puts on a brave face, but I know he gets discouraged at times. He likes to come across as the “Heresy-hunter” and he calls himself “Bobcat” to his friends but really the picture at the bottom is more like him. So say a prayer for him on June 16th,

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Sincerely,

Tracy Liichow





THE TORONTO DECEPTION by a Former Vineyard Pastor

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

Discernment Ministries International

THE TORONTO DECEPTION by a Former Vineyard Pastor

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sincerely, Paul Gowdy

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

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

Rev. Robert S. Liichow





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

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                                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.

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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

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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

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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.





NEED YOUR SUPPORT NOW

17 08 2009

Truth Matters Newsletter – August 2009 – Need your support now – by Robert S. Liichow

NEED YOUR SUPPORT NOW 

In fourteen years my wife and I have rarely had to appeal to our readers to give to our family specifically. Now that time has come.

My wife and I went away to celebrate our 26th anniversary by visiting my mother, sister, and her family in Southern California. We flew from Detroit as their guests, all expenses paid and I admit it was an exquisite time for Tracy (who has never seen the pacific ocean) and I.

Upon our return, Tracy went to work on Monday, as usual, only to be told that she was “laid off.” prior to our leaving she was told her lay-off date would be August 14th! So she and our household were surprised to learn Tracy would not have at least another full paycheck before her layoff. It seems that was not to be.

Tracy has since been looking into receiving unemployment compensation and food stamps to help keep our family “alive” regarding rent, food, insurance, etc.

My brothers and sisters DMI has depended upon God to meet our needs through our readers, website guests, blog visitors etc…Right now I am asking YOU, as the Head of DMI, if you will permit my family to utilize the financial gifts that come in this month to help offset our living expenses for this month? Honestly, we have nothing financially, apart from looming bankruptcy, in the way of savings, etc. Nor does DMI.

We, as many of you have known, live month by month, as we have for close to 15 years. This was with Tracy working 40 hours+, now that is gone and we have no “social-safety net” to fall upon apart from the generosity of God’s people. Please help my family during this time of need and may our gracious God bless and keep you in His truth.

Rev. Robert S. Liichow

Mailing Address: P.O. Box 15639, Detroit, Michigan  48215

1thessalonians5_25prayforus1thess5

Proverbs 19:17

He who is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will reward him for what he has done.

 





God’s View of False Teachers & Their Teachings

4 08 2009
Truth Matters Newsletters – February 2006 – Vol. 11 Issue 2 – God’s View of False Teachers & Their Teachings – by Robert S. Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

God’s View of False Teachers & Their Teachings

DMI often receives e-mails from individuals who admit that even though certain individuals do teach false doctrines they are “alright” because after all, no one is perfect doctrinally. While we certainly agree that we are all sinners and none of us is perfect we disagree most vehemently with the concept that false doctrine and those who propagate it are harmless. There is no such thing as “harmless” false doctrine. I urge people to hold a very high opinion of the absolute seriousness of God’s view regarding false prophets, teachers and leaders in the Bible and history of the Church.

In theology proper one of the attributes of God is veracity which refers to truthfulness in His being and in all He does. The following definition will serve as a good place to begin our consideration of how seriously God considers those who prophesy or teach falsehoods in His holy name.

The apostle says, “Let God be true, and every man a liar”, (Rom. 3:4) this must be affirmed of him, whatever is said of creatures, he is true and truth itself.

1. God is true in and of himself; this epithet, or attribute, is expressive. 1a. Of the reality of his being; he truly and really exists; this is what every worshipper of him must believe (Heb. 11:6). Creatures have but a show of being in comparison of his; “Every man walks in a vain show”, or image; rather in appearance than in reality, (Ps. 39:6) but the existence of God is true, real and substantial; hence he has the name Jehovah, “I AM that I AM”; which denotes the truth, eternity, and immutability of his essence. What seems to be, and is not, is not true; what seems to be and is, is true.

1b. Of the truth of his Deity; he is the true and the living God; so he is often called, (2 Chron. 15:3; Jer. 10:10; 1 Thess. 1:9) in opposition to fictitious deities; who either have reigned themselves such or are feigned so by others; gods only by name, not by nature; of which there have been many; but the true God is but one, and in distinction from such who are called gods in a figurative and metaphorical sense, gods by office under God; as Moses was to Pharaoh, and as Kings, Judges, and civil magistrates be, (Ex. 7:1; Ps. 82:1, 6, 7). But the Lord is God in a true and proper sense.

1c. This title includes the truth and reality of all his perfections; he is not only omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, eternal, and immutable, but he is truly so; what is falsely claimed by others, or wrongly given to them, is really in him; he is not only good and gracious, holy and just, but he is truly so; what others only appear to be, he is really.

1d. This may be predicated of each Person in the Godhead; the Father is the only true God, (John 17:3) through not to the exclusion of the Son, who is also the true God and eternal life; nor of the holy Spirit, who is truth; and who, with the Father and the Son, is the one true and living God (1 John 5:20, 6,7).–This attribute of truth removes from the divine nature everything imperfect and sinful: it is opposed to unrighteousness, (Deut. 32:4) and has the epithet of just or holy along with it, when God is spoken of in his persons, ways, and works, (Rev. 3:7, 6:10, 15:3, 16:7, 19:2) it removes from him all imputation of lying and falsehood; he is not a man, that he should lie, as men do; the Strength of “Israel will not” lie; yea, he is God that “cannot” lie; it is even “impossible” that he should (Num. 23:19; 1 Sam. 15:29, Titus 1:2; Heb. 6:18) this frees him from all deception, he can neither deceive nor be deceived. (1)

Truth matters to our God because He is at His core a being of truth. Whenever anyone stands up and proclaims what is false either intentionally or unintentionally (2) in His name as one of Hs ministers it is a grievous affront to His holy character. It is a very serious matter to stand before God’s people (or any people for that matter as His representative) and speak in His name. We should do so with fear and trembling, knowing we are flawed individuals and our best attempts are tainted by our sinfulness. Yet today myriads of “leaders” have lost their fear of the Lord and brazenly proclaim innumerable false prophetic words in the name of our Lord.  Men and women of every stripe think noting of teaching novel man made doctrines and those of demons (read 1 timothy 4:1) on a global scale. Those who follow their pernicious ways think little of the fact that their leaders err here and there doctrinally and “miss it” when they prophesy in God’s name. But what saith the Lord?

The Old Testament Witness Against False Ministries and Their Teachings

Deut 18:20 But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of others gods, even that prophet shall die.

During the instructional phase of establishing the nation God warned His people regarding those who would presume to speak a word (an instructional directive in His name. If such a person dared to put themselves forth as a spokesman for the Lord, and was not, they were to be killed.

Some may say “surely you are not advocating stoning false and presumptuous prophets today.” No. I am not….but if the Church did stone false prophets then the Body of Christ would not be troubled by the likes of Benny Hinn, Kenneth Copeland, Paul Cain, Kim Clement, Bernard Jordan, Paul Crouch, Rick Joyner, John Paul Jones, Mike Bickle and other liars. If we still did enforce stoning of false prophets I believe the televangelists ranks would have been thinned to almost non-existence. THANK GOD for His mercy!!

Lev. 24:16 And he that blasphemeth the name of the LORD, he shall surely be put to death, [and] all the congregation shall certainly stone him: as well the stranger, as he that is born in the land, when he blasphemeth the name [of the LORD], shall be put to death.

Not only did God require false prophets to be stoned to death, He also commanded that those who blaspheme His name be likewise stoned to death. This refers directly to taking the LORD’s name in vain, but it can also refer to blaspheming His name by speaking or teaching falsely using it. Anytime a minister gets up and says “The LORD told me” or “Thus saith the LORD,” and it is not in direct context of God’s written Word then that minister is in danger of having committed a presumptuous sin and attributing to the LORD that which He has not uttered, thus lying (blaspheming) in His holy name. It was and still is a serious matter.

The context of the following verses comes from Jeremiah, who lived during the last days of a decaying nation. He was the last prophet to Judah, the southern Kingdom, the northern ten tribes had already gone into captivity and soon Judah was to suffer seventy years of Babylonian captivity. His was a time of both spiritual and moral decay where God’s people preferred to listen to the sweet lies of the false prophets and reject the sure Word of the Lord from His true spokesman (sound familiar?).

Jer 5:30-32 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?

Jer 14:14-16 Then the LORD said unto me, The prophets prophesy lies in my name; I send 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, their wives, nor their sons, nor their daughters; for I will pour their wickedness upon them.

Jer 29:8-9 For thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Let not your prophets and your diviners, that [be] in the midst of you, deceive you, neither hearken to your dreams which ye cause to be dreamed. For they prophesy falsely unto you in my name; I have not sent them, saith the LORD.

Jer 23:32 Behold, I [am] against them that prophesy false dreams, saith the LORD, and do tell them and, cause my people to err by their lies, and by their lightness; yet I sent them not, nor commanded them: therefore they shall not profit this people at all, saith the LORD.

The Lord speaking through Jeremiah reveals several things regarding false ministers. First and foremost, it is not a light matter when ministers misuse their office and take the Lord’s name in vain. On the contrary God considers it a horrible thing. The Hebrew word sha`arura means something horrid, disgusting, a horrible thing. (3)

God blames both the false prophets and ministers who rule by their own decisions versus leading by God’s Word (5:v. 31) and His people “My people love to have it so.” Those who proclaim lies in God’s name would have no effect if people would ignore and shun them. Sadly, then as today these people were and are embraced by many. In Jer. 14:14 that Lord plainly states these prophets are lying in My name! What is the end result? God will judge them and those who listened to them (14:v.16). Again, we read of a close connection between those who lie in God’s name and those who listen to their lies. Lastly, God is against them that prophesy lies and mislead His people because of the lies they tell.

Ezekiel ate the bitter fruit of Jeremiah’s prophetic words. He ministers as a captive of Babylon and yet even while the people were in captivity they still strayed from God’s ways and suffered from ungodly leadership!

 Eze 34:2-3 Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD unto the shepherds; Woe [be] to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! should not the shepherds feed the flocks? Ye eat the fat, and ye clothe you with the wool, ye kill them that are fed: [but] ye feed not the flock.

Eze 34:9-10 therefore, O ye shepherds, hear the word of the LORD: Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I [am] against the shepherds; and I will require my flock at their hand, and cause them to cease from feeding the flock; neither shall the shepherds feed themselves any more; for I will deliver my flock from their mouth, that they may not be meat for them.

God is against leaders who take care of themselves at the expense of the flock of God under their care. These false leaders were guilty of feeding and enriching themselves by preying on the flock. God said He would judge them and free His people from their tyranny. God does not change (read Mal. 3:6). He keeps excellent records and He will require those who lead in His name to give an account of how they treated His people (take heed Mr. Robertson, Mr. & Mrs. Crouch, and a host of others).

From these few citations in the Old Testament we can readily see that our Lord does not wink at prophets who “miss it” now and then in His name. Nor does He excuse leaders who make merchandise of the sheep and to some extent He does not overlook those who heed the messages of false prophets. The witness of the O.T. is sure, God is not pleased with anyone who lies or misleads in His name.

The Witness of Jesus Against False Prophets and Leaders

Some might try to argue that the O.T. texts come to us under the old dispensation and that now we are under a dispensation of grace and a better covenant based on better promises. To be sure we are children of the new and final covenant based on better promises (read Hebrews 8:6) This being the case then we’d do well to pay close attention to the One who established that better covenant sealing it with His shed blood.

Mt. 18:6-7 but whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and [that] he were drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe unto the world because of offences! For it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!

The word translated offend comes from the Greek word skandalizo from which we get our term “scandalize.” It is defined as meaning “to put a stumbling block or impediment in the way, upon which another may trip and fall.” (4) Jesus is saying that if anyone is going to cause even the most immature (thus helpless) believer to stumble in their walk with Christ it would be better for that person to be drowned! It seems that to our Lord doctrinal purity matters quite a bit. In fact, He goes on to say that offences will come but Jesus uses the prophetic term “woe” to that man who causes the offenses! When the prophets in the O.T. declared “woe unto you” it meant that the nation or individual had become the object of the wrath of God.

As the true shepherd our Lord warns us in several places to be aware of those claiming to speak for God and to weigh carefully what we hear taught:

Mt. 7:15-20 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 true 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.

We are warned to be alert, to be conscious of the reality of pseudo-prophets (false prophets). Why be warned? Because these people come looking like sheep, false prophets come dressed in Christian garb and talk the “God” talk. From all outward appearances they seem to be Christian. Yet what makes one a believer is not seen by long dresses on women, short hair on men and ten pound Dake or Scofield KJV Bible under their arms. (5) True Christianity begins in the heart as a work of the Holy Spirit. This is where the false prophet is detected. Not by how they look but what is on the inside, which is revealed to us by what they teach. Remember, it is out of the abundance of the heart that the mouth speaks (see Luke 6:45).

All of the false prophets, false teachers, false brethren and false apostles fall under the category of “tares” sown among the pure wheat of God by the enemy (see Matthew 13:25). The tare looks exactly like a stalk of wheat except it is empty inside and worthless. The end result of these false ministers? They shall be bound in bundles and burned (see Matthew 13:30).

In the same discourse regarding our need to be aware of the reality of false prophets Jesus foretells of their end:

Mt. 7:21-23 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.

Sadly, this reminds me of many leaders within the Signs and Wonders movement today. Many are quick to prophesy in the name of Jesus, some even are so bold as to hold “Prophetic Schools” teaching people how to become prophets! So called strategic level spiritual warfare and casting demons out of people (deliverance ministries) are all the rage today…all done in Jesus name. Open any issue of Charisma magazine and read advertisement after advertisement offering miracle crusades and meetings touting that the power of God will be in manifestation (for a price)….again all done in Jesus holy name. I fear that some of these people will hear the most dreadful words of all “I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”

In keeping with our times today our Lord’s warnings seem particularly appropriate:

Mr. 13:22-23 For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if [it were] possible, even the elect. But take ye heed: behold, I have foretold you all things.

We are warned by the true Christ and true prophet that falsely “anointed” ones (Christos) along with false prophets shall come forth and bring with them signs and wonders the purpose of which is to seduce (“to cause to go astray” in the Greek) if possible even the elect of God. Jesus warns His disciples to take heed (blepo, to discern, perceive) regarding these liars. One of Satan’s biggest tools in his arsenal of deception is having a false message followed up with lying signs and wonders (read 2 Thess. 2:9). After all, isn’t the Word confirmed with signs and wonders following (read Mark 16:20)? Frankly, it depends on the Word (doctrine) being delivered and the nature of the so-called signs and wonders.

Mt. 15:14 Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.

Regarding the Pharisees Jesus warns His followers to leave them alone because they are spiritually blind and those who follow them are equally blind. What is the danger in following blind guides? The blind leaders and their followers will end up falling into the ditch!

Mt. 16:11-12 How is it that ye do not understand that I spake [it] not to you concerning bread, that ye should beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees? Then understood they how that he bade [them] not beware of the leaven of bread, but of the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees.

It should be very obvious from these few texts that our Lord is extremely concerned about the nature of what is bring taught as doctrine and the character of those proclaiming to be prophets or teachers of the Law. Jesus knew that a little false doctrine (leaven) would, if left unchecked, spread and corrupt the entire loaf. Christ warns that we need to check out the biblical content of what is being presented to us as God’s truth and not to simply swallow-and-follow whatever is presented to us by individuals who claim some special anointing.

False leaders have not changed from Jesus’ day to our time. Jesus rebuked the lawyers saying:

Luke 11:52 Woe unto you, lawyers! For ye have taken away the key of knowledge: ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered.

Lawyers in Jesus’ day were the interpreters of the law, they were the teachers of Mosaic Law.

52. Key of knowledge—not the key to open knowledge, but knowledge, the only key to open heaven. In Mat 23:13, they are accused of shutting heaven; here of taking away the key, which was worse. A right knowledge of God’s Word is eternal life (John 17:3); but this they took away from the people, substituting for it was their wretched traditions. (6)

Due to their man made traditions, practices and teachings which God had never instated these false leaders made the Word of God of no effect in the lives of the people they were supposed to be leading (read Matthew 15:6). They lay heavy burdens (works) on the people’s shoulders but would do nothing to liberate them (read Matthew 23:4) through the correct teaching of God’s Word.

Brothers and sisters, our Lord, yes precious Jesus, was NOT tolerant of ignorant, proud and blind spiritual leaders. He rebuked them at every turn. He warned His disciples of the danger these SINisters posed to the true spiritual growth and welfare of the disciples time and time again.

The Apostolic Witness Regarding False Leaders

Were the writing Apostles any less concerned about doctrinal purity and godly leadership? The Apostle Paul who the Holy Spirit used to write almost two-thirds of the New Testament said quite a bit about these issues. I will cite just a few examples:

Acts 20:27-30  For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God. Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also, of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.

Paul exhorts the Ephesian elders at his departure reminding them how he warned them day and night for three years of the fact that the flock would be attacked from without and within. He urged these leaders to take heed to their own spiritual lives first and having done so they would be in position to help guard the flock that God had entrusted to them. The “wolves” could refer to those Jesus spoke of in Matthew 7:15, people who outwardly looked like Christian leaders but who in reality would ravage the flock. He also mentioned the fact of leaders rising up who would teach things that would turn those who followed them from the right path. Later on Paul gives a similar warning to his disciple and pastor Timothy:

2 Timothy 4:2-4 Preach the word: be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away [their] ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

 Paul knows he is about to die (read v.6) and he is exhorting Timothy by first reminding him to preach the word in a steadfast manner. Paul uses some strong words in the Greek to Timothy:

Reprove (elegcho) means to: a. by conviction to bring to the light, to expose; b. generally with a suggestion of shame of the person convicted; c. to call to account, show one his fault, demand an explanation.

Rebuke (epitimao) meaning: a. to tax with fault, rate, chide, rebuke, reprove, censure severely; b. to admonish or change sharply.

Exhort (parakaleo) define as: a. to address, speak to, (call to, call upon), which may be done in the way of exhortation, entreaty, comfort, instruction, etc; b. to console, to encourage and strengthen by consolation, to comfort; c. to instruct, teach. (7)

 Paul knew that Timothy would face doctrinally illiterate people who would be easy targets for false teachers peddling an appealing message. This is why he exhorts Timothy to preach the Word of God and take a firm stand against those who are wavering in their faith or being misled by false teachers.

Nothing has changed! Pastors still face the same challenges, but many pastors are not preaching the full counsel of God’s Word, nor are they willing to reprove and rebuke people who are wavering in the true Christian faith. Somehow this is seen as “unloving.” Yet the end result is the same today as it was in Timothy’s ministry —people are being seduced by false leaders and are perverted, turned away from the right path, the narrow way of God’s Word.

Heresy and heretics are nothing new to the Church; as these texts amply prove false ministers have always plagued God’s people. Paul said that there must be heresies among us to prove who are the genuine (1 Cor. 11:19) believers.

What has changed is the unwillingness on the part of both leaders and laity to step up and speak out against the heretics and their false doctrines and practices in our midst. The Apostle Peter prophesied of our day when he said:

2 Peter 2:1-3 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 lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.

We are told to expect the advent of false teachers bringing in damnable (tisk tisk Peter, not to judge) heresies and many (pollus, a whole bunch of folks in the Greek) shall follow them. Because of these SINisters the “way of truth,” Christianity, will be spoken evil of. People like Mr. Tilton, Benny Hinn, Jim & Tammy Bakker, Jimmy Swaggert, Earl Paulk cause the world to speak evil of the Church. These false teachers covet followers and most importantly covet their money. Through their false doctrine (such as the false prosperity message) they reduce their followers to nothing more than giving units. Paul in his closing remarks in his letter to the Romans echoes Peter’s warning:

Roman 16:17,18  Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.

God commands that we identify those who cause divisions or schisms within the Church by teaching doctrines which are against the true teaching of Scripture. What is more we are to avoid them. Why? Because they are not servants of Christ but of their own desires and they will use the same language of the Church to deceive those with no sound doctrinal foundation for their spiritual lives. Jude exhorts his readers and us today of the necessity of contending for the faith:

Jude 1:3  Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend (epigone,zesqai) for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.

The KJV is more accurate than many other translations when it says “earnestly contend” for the faith because it is truer to the Greek word. We are in a battle and the Church has to fight to keep the truth of God. This battle has been raging ever since Satan said “hath God said” to Eve back in the garden of Eden (see Gen 3:1).

The Witness of the Early Church Fathers & Reformers

In the Preface of his stellar work Against Heresies our Patron Saint, (8) Irenaeus stated the following:

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…I do this, in order that thou, obtaining an acquaintance with these things, mayest in turn explain them to all those with whom thou art connected, and exhort them to avoid such an abyss of madness and of blasphemy against Christ. (9)

Irenaeus was not being mean spirited, spiteful nor was he causing division an strife by exposing the false teachers of his day. Quite the contrary, his goal was to be a faithful under shepherd and warn God’s people of the wolves in their very midst. He noted how these false brethren looked like sheep, spake God-talk but that the meaning behind their words were (and are to this day) vastly different from those of orthodox Christianity. For example, words like “faith, anointing, Christ, prosperity” are biblical terms yet in the mouth of Mr. Copeland, Hinn, Dollar or Crouch have vastly different interpretations than what they truly mean. Irenaeus wrote so that his reader(s) could in turn warn others. THIS IS THE EXACT SAME REASON DMI PUBLISHES TRUTH MATTERS EACH MONTH. Our hope is that you, our readers, will share what you learn with others.

In chapter VII of The Epistle of Polycarp to the Philippians, Polycarp who was one of the Apostle John’s disciples wrote the following exhortation:

For whosoever does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh, is antichrist,” and whosoever does not confess the testimony of the cross, is of the devil; and whosoever perverts the oracles of the Lord to his own lusts and says that there is neither a resurrection nor a judgment, he is the first-born of Satan. Wherefore, forsaking the vanity of many, and their false doctrines, let us return to the word which has been handed down to us from the beginning; “watching unto prayer,” and persevering in fasting; beseeching in our supplication the all-seeing God “not to lead us into temptation” as the Lord has said: “The spirit truly is willing, but the flesh is weak. (10)

Polycarp urges Christians to forsake the vanity of many and their false doctrines and to return to the word that was handed down to the Church from the beginning. At the very early stages of the Church false doctrines and false practices ran rampant. Is it any surprise then, now at the end of the age the Church still must be exhorted to return to the faith once delivered unto the saints? Clement wrote in Chapter XVI of his Epistle to the Corinthians of the fact that it was those who were unstable in the faith and taught false doctrine who were the cause of strife and tumult…not those who exposed them!

It is right and holy therefore, men and brethren, rather to obey God than to follow those who, through pride and sedition, have become the leaders of a detestable emulation. For we shall incur no slight injury, but rather great danger, if we rashly yield ourselves to the inclination of men who aim at exciting strife and tumults, so as to draw us away from what is good. (11)

Martin Luther in writing about the Second Commandment made the following bold statement:

It also belongs to this work to resist all false, seductive, erroneous, heretical doctrines, every misuse of spiritual power. Now this is much higher, for these use the holy Name of God itself to fight against the Name of God. For this reason it seems a great thing and a dangerous to resist them, because they assert that he who resists them resists God and all His saints, in whose place they sit and whose power they use, saying that Christ said of them, “ He that heareth you, heareth Me, and he that despiseth you, despiseth Me.” On which words they lean heavily, become insolent and bold to say, to do, and to leave undone what they please; put to the ban, accurse, rob, murder, and practice all their wickedness, in whatever way they please and can invent, without any hindrance. Now Christ did not mean that we should listen to them in everything they might say and do, but only then when they present to us His Word, the Gospel, not their word, His work, and not their work. (12)

In keeping God’s name holy we are to resist ALL false, seductive, erroneous, heretical doctrines and EVERY misuse of spiritual power. To sit idly by and blithely say “no one is perfect” in the fact of known error is to defame God and sin against His holy name. I love the following quote from John Calvin “A dog barks when his master is attacked. I would be a coward if I saw that God’s truth is attacked and yet would remain silent.”

Those few of us who dare to speak out against heresy and heretics – are held generally in very low esteem by the majority in the Church. Yet as I have shown from the O.T. through the Reformation that it is the uniform testimony of God that we ARE to speak out against error wherever it is found, regardless of who is speaking it.

Yes we are to speak the truth in love (Eph. 4:15) , but we are to still speak it. Without doubt we are to correct others with humbleness of heart, knowing that we too may fall (Gal. 6:1), yet we still seek to restore our fallen brother. We are not exempt from rebuking those who sin before all (1 Tim 5:20) again with the hope of restoration, but also as a warning to others who may be wavering.

Like Irenaeus, according to my meager abilities and the grace of our Lord I am going to strive to be bolder in Teaching Truth and Exposing Error than I ever have before. I thank God for each and every one of you who supports our portion of His ministry and urge those of you who do not support us to join with us in this battle for the truth. What we and other Apologetic ministries do is totally in keeping with the will of God as I have shown in this short article. Our ability to engage the father of lies depends on the support we receive.

May our gracious Lord keep us all steadfast in His Word and may He continue to grant us grace to swim against the violent currents of blasphemy and doctrinal error that are sweeping so many of our brethren downstream. May we be empowered by the Spirit of Truth to reach out and rescue as many as we can from the spiritual bondage they see as liberty. In Jesus name, amen and amen. ♦

Copyright © 2006  Robert S. Liichow

End Notes

1. Gill, John A Body of Doctrinal Divinity, Book 1 Chapter 22. Available online at the Dr. John Gill achieves http://www.phministries.org/books/gill/octrinal_Divinity/Book_1/book1_22.htm Bold type and underlining added for emphasis.

2. I readily admit that many people DMI often takes to task for their propagation of false doctrine deception is just as spiritually harmful to the individual as intentional deception. The result is the same, God’s people are misled.

3. Harris, Archer, Watke. Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, Moody Press, Chicago, Il. 1980, p.946.

4. http://www.blueletterbible.org/tmp_dir/words/4/1138124504.html

5. Please understand my use of hyperbole here. I support modest dress and enjoy using the KJV, however I would not endorse Scofield or Dake as study Bibles due to the many errors in their notes.

6. Jamieson, Robert; A.R. Fausset; and David Brown. “The Gospel According to Luke” Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible. Blue Letter Bible. 19 Feb 2000. 25 Jan 2006.

7. Obtained from http://www.blueletterbible.org/mp_dir/words/3/1138394516-7859.html.

8. The International Order of Heresy Hunters of which this author is the Grand Pooh-bah has taken Irenaeus as our “Patron” saint…we don’t pray to him or burn candles in his honor, but we think he was an expert at ferreting out the tares from among the wheat.

9. Obtained from http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf01.ix.ii.I.html. Bold type and underlining added for emphasis.

10. Obtained from http://www.ccel.org/ecel/schaff/an01.iv.ii.vii.html underlining and bold type and italics added.

11. Obtained from http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf01.ii.ii.xiv.html emphasis added.

12. Obtained from http://www.ctsfw.edu/etext/luther/works03.asc





The Need for Educated Pastors

15 07 2009
Truth Matters Newsletter – September 2005 – Vol. 10 Issue 9 – The Need for Educated Pastors – by Rev. Robert S. Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

The Need for Educated Pastors

“I also must be right up front with you about seminaries and Bible colleges, I believe all they do is produce rubber stamp “ministers” and when the ‘ministers’ are done, it seems most take the stance “Ok, I have absolute truth and nothing can change my mind”, and sadly nothing usually does. Peter never had any “formal” training, but yet Jesus decided to build His church with Peter being the Rock. I believe seminaries and bible colleges hinder people from truly being led of the Spirit.” (EMAIL comments from Shirl on 09-05-05). (1)

Every time I mention the need for pastors to obtain a sound seminary education I am met with the shrill email response of “knowledge puffs up. The above quote echoes what almost all the various proponents of biblical ignorance repeat, that being, the charismatic urban legend regarding the Apostles of Jesus being untrained men, thus people do not need any formal biblical education in order to serve as pastors or Bible teachers.

People who hold such views base them on two major premises. First, they have their own favorite teacher/preacher who has no biblical education and they are “blessed” by their ministry, ergo, a seminary education is unnecessary. Secondly, they look at the following many of these charismatic superstars have and assume that the masses of people and multi-millions of dollars they receive and indicative of the blessing of Almighty God upon the work they are doing in His name. “Dr.” Kenneth E. Hagin who constantly referred to seminaries as “cemeteries,” which always drew a cheap laugh from the audience. (2).

There is a great fear among many leaders, especially in the Word of Faith cult and many charismatic sects concerning their members obtaining any formal biblical education. They know that when they do these individuals will leave their movement, as did my wife and myself. Jesus said that if one would continue in His Word he would know the truth and the truth would set him free (read John 8:32) and that is exactly what happens when the Word of God is properly taught…people get set free. Unfortunately, the opposite is equally true. Where the scripture are taken out of context and taught by biblically ignorant teachers, those who swallow-and-follow what these blind guides teach end up in spiritual bondage, which they eventually perpetuate to others.

Their answer to the lack of sound biblical education is to simply establish their own schools. By doing this these leaders accomplish several things. First, it keeps people in the cult by further indoctrinating them and eventually sending them out as “pastors” over their own congregations. This leads to point number two: it is a way to garner in additional financial resources from their graduates/pastors who send their members to the school they came from. Thirdly, it helps give the cult leaders a degree of legitimacy, after all, they are Presidents of Bible Schools! Here are just a few of the “Bible” schools that some blind guides of renown have started: Spirit Life Bible College — “Dr.” Roberts Liardon; Rhema Bible Training Center — “Dr. “Kenneth E. Hagin; New Life Bible College — Norval Hayes; Jerry Savelle Ministries International Correspondence School — “Dr.” Jerry Savell; Word to the World College — “Dr.” Marilyn Hickey; Supernatural Ministries Training Institute — “Dr” Mark Barclay; School of Ministry — John Arnott. None of these schools possesses accepted accreditation and any legitimate college or seminary does not recognize their graduates diplomas or degrees. Please note that many of the founders of these schools always use the title “Dr.” in front of their names. The FACT is that none of them has an earned doctoral degree; in most cases they were given these titles by another fraud, “Dr.” Oral Roberts. They love to use the title without having to do the work to earn it. They use the title to deceive people into thinking they are biblically educated.

It is important to understand that when you see the superstars of charismatic televangelism you are looking at and listening to individuals who have (in the majority of cases) absolutely no biblical training or formal education whatsoever. Let me cite just a few of the more popular preachers one can see daily on the Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN): Kenneth & Gloria Copeland; Mr. Benny Hinn; Jesse Duplantis; Kim Clement; Jerry Savelle, Joyce Meyer, Charles Capps; Marilyn Hickey; and Joel Osteen. None of these individuals have any biblical education, most of them have not even attended a secular college or earned a college degree, with the exception of Marilyn Hickey who did earn a teaching degree for primary school if memory serves me correctly. Yet these individuals are deemed as possessing divine insights into the Word of God and are seen by multitudes as being some of the greatest biblical exegetes of the Church!  Millions of people’s spiritual understanding is solely based on what these blind guides teach.

The Biblical Precedent For Educated Pastors

Contrary to popular charismatic thought the Bible is full of exhortations for God’s people especially those in ministry, to be well educated concerning the Holy Scriptures.

Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15

Study in the Greek means “to exert one’s self, endeavor, give diligence” (3) We are to mentally exert ourselves in gaining a proper understanding of the Word of God so that we will not be ashamed before our God, rightly handling the word of truth. This implies it is very easy to wrongly handle God’s Word.

My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment.   James 3:1

When someone stands before the people of God and attempts to teach the Bible they had better know what they are talking about. Pastors who rightly divide the word of truth will be tools of liberation, those who wrongly teach God’s Word become instruments of bondage, often leading God’s people further from the goal of spiritual fruitfulness.

This is nothing new; Peter, regarding some of what the Apostle Paul taught, had to warn his flock of the dangers of being led astray by untrained clergy;

As also in all [his] epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest as [they do] also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. 2 Peter 3:16

Let me state quite emphatically that no one has a perfect understanding of the Bible in this life. Every pastor is a sinner, each one of us is fallen and sees through a mirror darkly (see 1 Cor. 13:12). Knowing this fact it should drive those of us in public ministry to our knees all the more beseeching our Lord to grant us His mercy in understanding His Word.

If any man speak, [let him speak] as the oracles of God; if any man minister, [let him do it] as of the ability which God giveth; that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 4:11

We should approach our education with humility and when we stand before God’s people to speak to do so with godly fear and trembling. It is not a light matter to teach God’s Word. That is why it behooves us to get as much solid training as we can before we attempt to stand in the pastoral office.

Wisdom [is] the principal thing; [therefore] get wisdom; and with all thy getting get understanding. Proverbs 4:7

Buy the truth, and sell [it] not; [also] wisdom, and instruction and understanding Proverbs 23:23

With all our getting we are to acquire wisdom, understanding and instruction. When Proverbs 23:23 refers to “buying” it simply means to go acquire truth, wisdom and understanding, and once you have done this, do not let it go (sell I).

Defusing the Myths

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

Myth #1   “Brother you are just promoting the teachings of men and we all know that knowledge puff up, but love builds up.”

This charge is often leveled against those of us who expound the value of formal biblical training. The problem with this proof text is that they take it completely out of its context (a little something they would learn not to do if they took a class in hermeneutics). Paul is referring to the issue of eating meat sacrificed to idols.

There was evidently difference of opinion on the subject among the Corinthian Christians. Aspects of the matter come forward not touched on in the Jerusalem Conference to which Paul does not here allude, though he does treat it in Ga. 2: 1-10. There was the more enlightened group who acted on the basis of their superior knowledge about the non-existence of the gods represented by the idols. Ye know that we all have knowledge. This may be a quotation from the letter (Moffatt Lit of N.T., p. 112). Since their conversion to Christ, they know the emptiness of idol-worship. Paul admits that all Christians have this knowledge (personal experience, ), but this problem cannot be solved by knowledge. (4)

Paul was not an anti-intellectual by any means! Nor was he suggesting that love was superior to biblical knowledge. In the context of this passage love is the guide in solving social interactions. In fact he wrote his disciple, Timothy to remember to bring with him the books and especially the parchments when he came to Paul (read 2 Tim. 4:13). While testifying of Christ to Festus, even this petty potentate recognized Paul as a learned man. (read Acts 26:24).

By all historical accounts the Apostle Paul was one of the most highly educated men of his time. True he considered all his education to be of no value when compared to the glory of knowing Jesus Christ (read Phil. 3:8), but the fact still remains that God used Paul, a highly educated man to write approximately two-thirds of the New Testament.

Myth #2   “The disciples of Jesus were ignorant and unlearned men; they did not have any formal biblical education and look how God used them!”

That is the basic statement DMI receives, or as Shirl stated in her email  “Peter never had any “formal” training, but yet Jesus decided to build His church with Peter being the Rock.”  Defusing this myth requires no “formal” training, just a modicum of common sense. The disciples, the twelve specifically, spent three and a half years or around 1,277.5 days with Jesus. They were taught by God the Son personally 7 days a week, no Christmas or Easter breaks. They spent every waking moment with God the Son learning the Word of God from the Living Word! What is more, in preparing His disciples for His departure He gave them a tremendous promise:

But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.   John 14:28

The disciples were hardly “ignorant and unlearned” men with no formal biblical education. The exact opposite is true. They were personally instructed by two of the three persons of the Trinity. After His resurrection from the dead, a couple of the disciples obtained some more direct instruction in biblical theology.

And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all, the scriptures the things concerning himself. Luke 24:27

The only people who call the disciples ignorant and unlearned were the Sadducees and temple priests (read Acts 4:13). This was not a statement of fact because as we have seen the Apostles were in reality the best taught and biblically equipped people of all time!

Myth #3    “God used uneducated people in great ways, you’re just exalting knowledge.

Without a doubt, God does use people without formal biblical training in great ways…but not as effective pastors. I would remind our detractors of a few historical facts. Moses was one of the most highly educated men in all of Egypt and God used him to lead the Israelites, delivered the Law unto them, etc. The Bible says the following of Solomon:

And Solomon’s wisdom excelled the wisdom of all the children of the east country, and all the wisdom of Egypt. 1 Kings 4:30.

Daniel and his cohorts were proven to be ten times wiser than all the wise men in Cyrus’ empire (read Dan. 1:20), the greatest one of its day. God has always used highly educated men to move His plan forward. I could mention men such as Justin Martyr, Augustine, Martin Luther, John Calvin, Jonathan Edwards and a host of other theological luminaries all of whom have added to the Church.

DMI and other Apologetic ministries are not “exalting knowledge,” but we are quick to add that there is no premium on ignorance either! It is really very simple; if you want to become a doctor you have to attend medical school, a veterinarian must go to veterinary school and even your barber (hopefully) attended Barber College. If we demand expertise from our plumbers, electricians, doctors, architects and pilots how much more should those in sacred ministry desire to be as highly trained as they can be? I am truly perplexed over why God’s people do not expect as much from their spiritual leaders as they do from their plumbers.

It is not about gaining “head knowledge” it is about being able to skillfully and accurately teach God’s Word to His people so that they may apply it correctly to their lives and bear fruit that glorifies their heavenly Father.

The reason I am so passionate about the need for good education is because I came from a background where it was not valued at all. As a charismatic extremist I served as a pastor and teacher for fifteen years before I went to seminary. Was my ministry invalid? No, not really, but I was ineffective in sharing God’s Word in its context. I was guilty of teaching heretical doctrines at times, because I was not equipped with the tools/knowledge of how to properly interpret the scripture thus I did not know when I was being fed spiritual garbage by other well intentioned heretics. (Hagin, Copeland, Savelle, Hickey, et al.) so I parroted what my “anointed” mentors taught me.

When my wife and I went to Michigan Theological Seminary our eyes were opened and it was if scales fell from our eyes with each course we took. I readily admit to being far from perfect, nor do I have perfect doctrinal understanding… and because I recognize this it has caused me to become a life long student of God’s Word. The more I learn, the more I realize how little I truly know and the hungrier I get to draw closer and closer to my Lord through His Word.

Not everyone needs to attend seminary in order to serve the Lord, that is a given, but I do encourage all of my brothers and sisters in Christ to avail themselves of every avenue open to them to learn about our Lord through in-depth study of His Word. There may even be a good (orthodox) seminary in your area and you might consider auditing some classes on systematic theology, church history or hermeneutics. Most seminaries charge very little to folks who just want to “sit in” without getting the college credit for the courses. It would be time well spent. Let me close this article out with the words of our Lord Jesus:

Let them alone: they be blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditchMark 15:14      ♦

Copyright © 2005  Robert S. Liichow

End Notes

1. Shirl emailed DMI to complain about our article on Mr. Joel Osteen in which I mentioned the fact that he had absolutely no biblical education whatsoever and does not see the need to have one.

2. It is amazing that a man who made fun of seminaries and called people with Ph.D’s “Post-Hole-Diggers” would accept and use the title “Dr.” in front of his name and in his later publications. He did not mind being called “Dr. Hagin,” even though it was an honorary degree bestowed by his partner in crime, Mr. Oral Roberts, who have given out fake degrees to almost every major charismatic minister on television today.

3. Obtained from http://www.blueletterbible.org/tmp_dir/words/4/1125927988-3573.html

4. Robertson, A.T. Word Pictures, BibleWorks software ver. 4.0.035