Why DMI Does What It Does

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

 Discernment Ministries International

 Why DMI Does What It Does

By Rev. Robert S. Liichow

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

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

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

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

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

The Field of Battle Is Two-Fold

From Without-

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

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

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

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

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

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

From Within-

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Satanic Six Fold-Ministry

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

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

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

The False Apostle

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

False Prophets

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

False Teachers

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

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

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

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

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

False Shepherds

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

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

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

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

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

False Christ’s

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

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

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

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

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

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

False Brethren

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Copyright © 2012 Robert S. Liichow

End Notes

1. LN Louw-Nida Greek-English Lexicon

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

3. Obtained from www.apostolicministry.org

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

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

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

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

8. Obtained from www.whatsnewintheprophetic.com/PropheticMinistry

9. Obtained from www.prophetic-ministry.com

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

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The Prophetic Movement in Our Time

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

Discernment Ministries International

 The Prophetic Movement in Our Time

By Robert S. Liichow  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Restoration of the Church Is Key

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

The Role of the Prophet Today

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Copyright © 2011 Robert S. Liichow

End Notes

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

2. Ibid., p. 142

3. Ibid., p. 144

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

5. Ibid., p. 187

6. Ibid., p. 183

7. Ibid.

8. Ibid.,

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

10. Paulk, Satan Unmasked, p. 170

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

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

13. Paulk, Satan Unmasked, p. 294

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

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