Sons of Thunder? (Part One) “You Don’t Know What Spirit You are Of”

10 05 2012
Truth Matters Newsletters – May 2012 – Vol. 16 Issue 5 – Sons of Thunder? (Part One) “You don’t know What Spirit You are Of” By Rev. Robert S. Liichow

 Discernment Ministries International

 

Sons of Thunder? (Part One)

“You Don’t Know What Spirit You are Of”

 By Rev. Robert S. Liichow

 

A disturbing ‘new’ trend has arisen promising its adherents tremendous mystical insight. These hitherto unknown insights will be gained through two avenues, learning through teachers and also through direct impartation and activation from the mystic to the enthusiast sign-seeker.

Nothing occurs within a vacuum and John Crowder and his gang did not spring up ex nihilo either. Crowder is simply part of the ‘fruit’ of the latest global out-pouring of spiritual excess. DMI has covered in great detail the origins of these revivals and the myriad of mystical experiences which attended (and still attends) each service to some degree or another. (1) These experiences include: spiritual drunkenness, uncontrollable ‘holy’ laughter, being slain in the spirit, bizarre uncontrollable bodily movements, apparitions, visions, prophetic utterances, unknown tongues, angelic feathers, green stones magically appearing in worship, gold dust on the participants, ‘new’ revelatory perceptions, seeing angels, trips to the throne room, etc.

All of these paranormal experiences are part-n-parcel of today’s revivalism and apart from prophesy and tongues which are valid biblical gifts when exercised biblically; the other manifestations are not biblical and are directly related to the occult realm. What Mr. Crowder has done is to take these experiences and codify them into some system which can then be taught to the seekers and he naturally includes the belief in impartation of spiritual power from the greater to the lesser vessel.

Due to the ‘Holy Laughter’ revival tens of thousands of people willingly opened themselves up to receive ‘whatever’ the Lord had for them at these services. They eagerly embraced all of the bizarre manifestations as what they were touted to be “the new wine” of the Holy Spirit. The widespread impact of the revival of the 90’s (2)  caused these occult manifestations to become widely accepted as legitimate expressions of the Spirit of our God.

This widespread acceptance gave Mr. Crowder a platform to come up with a “Mystical School,” which he and some others are exporting around the US and world. In his school Crowder makes the following assertions:

Operate in Trances, Raptures & Ecstatic Prayer

Experiences Physical Phenomena of Mysticism

Get Activated in Creative Miracles, Signs & Wonders

Understand & Access New Creation Realities

Gain A Historical Grid of Miracle Workers & Mystics

Be Activated in the Seer Realm, Prophecy, Spirit Travel

Receive Open Heavens & Revelatory Understanding

Access and Manifest the Glory Realm (3)

 

Before considering the above claims, let us remind ourselves what the bible has to say on these matters:

A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given unto it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas. And he left them, and departed. Matthew 16:4

The Lord has provided miraculously for the people and they came seeking more supernatural provision. And the Lord’s response?  They were wicked (morally corrupt) and adulterous (feminine form (4))  Why?  They were seeking a sign and not the God of the sign. Theses sign seekers may have been in doubt, challenging the Lord God to perform for them and so validate His ministry. This much is certain, our Lord did not think much of the sign-seekers then and since He does not change (Mal. 3:6) His attitude is still the same towards today’s sign-seekers.

Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold but climbed up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the porter openeth, and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers. This parable spake Jesus unto them: but they understood not what things they were which he spake unto them. Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep. All that ever came before me are thieves and robbers: but the sheep did not hear them. I am the door by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved. And shall go in and out, and find pasture. The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. John 10:1-10

It seems that Crowder is attempting to climb into the heavenly realm using the wrong door(s) of mystical experience. Jesus likens those who engage in such futile attempts to “thieves and robbers.” Christ alone is the Door, He alone is the Shepherd. To come to Christ by faith alone is to enter into the green pastures He provides for His sheep.

 

What is Mysticism?

Crowder is claiming to run a school of and for the “new mystics,” so it behooves us to define some terms before going further. According to Webster’s Dictionary mysticism is:

1: the experience of mystical union or direct communion with ultimate reality reported by mystics

2: the belief that direct KNOWLEDGE of God, spiritual truth, or ultimate reality can be attained through subjective experience (as intuition or insight)

3: vague speculation: a belief without sound basis: a theory postulating the possibility of direct and intuitive acquistion of ineffable knowledge or power. (5)

This is the goal of Crowder’s school — direct communion and fellowship with God and angels through various disciplines and practices (and a lot of innate imagination). “Direct knowledge” of God is another way of saying “revelation knowledge” which is another goal of these new mystics. Again this knowledge comes directly from God apart from any mental effort on our part, one simply “knows.”

Some might say “well, what is wrong with seeking direct communion and communication with The Ancient of Days?” I would respond by saying absolutely nothing is wrong with seeking communion & communication with our Lord, in fact, I would be very troubled if a Christian was not actively engaged in such pursuits to some degree or another. We are enjoined both positively and negatively:

But if from thence thou shall seek the Lord thy God thou shall find him, if thou seek him with all thy hearth and with all thy soul. Deut. 4:29

Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, Call ye upon him while he is near: Isa. 55:6

One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after: That I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, To behold the beauty of the LORD, and to inquire in his temple. Psl 27:4

Evil men understand not judgment: But they that seek the Lord understand all things. Prov. 28:5

And he did evil, because he prepared not his heart to seek the LORD. 2 Chron. 12:14

That whosoever would not seek the Lord God of Israel should be put to death, whether small or great, whether man or woman. 2 Chron. 15:13,14

Every Christian has the desire and longing to be with their Lord and probably each one of us has had times where we have experienced the awesome presence of Jesus. These unique times are to be treasured in our hearts, but not taught as doctrine or as a ‘goal’ to attain. What is more the Bible speaks plainly on what is involved in seeking the Lord, which is where Mr. Crowder and others sadly depart.

How Do You ‘Teach’ Mysticism?

In order to deceive Christians and keep them from being effective in this life for God’s kingdom the devil has to twist our Bible. He does this most effectively through his five-fold SINistry ‘gifts’: 1] false apostles (2 Cor. 11:5); 2] false teachers (2 Peter2:1); 3] false prophets (Jer. 14:14, Mark 13:22); 4] false Christ’s {falsely anointed ones} (Mark 13:22); false brethren (2 Cor. 11:26). 

Crowder and the other revivalists have always done is to appeal to certain miraculous and unrepeatable events and declare them to be available to all. (6) for example the event with Paul in Acts 19:12so that even handkerchiefs or aprons were brought from his body to the sick, and the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out of them.” This happened one time in the ministry of Paul and it is something he never mentions in his letters. Yet the enthusiasts have made a money-making machine out of so-called prayer cloths and other points-of-contact. (7) The logic behind making the unique commonplace is simply the belief that God is no respecter of persons (Romans 2:11 misapplied),  if He did it for one, He will do it for you if you meet His requirements.

What God did for Daniel in seeing visions, He will do for us, since Joseph dreamed prophetic dreams so can we. After all, Joel has promised our sons and daughters will prophesy and there will be visions and dreams given to both the old and young! Yes, Joel does say this, but the apostle Peter said “this is that which was prophesied by the prophet Joel” (Acts 2:17) — folks Joel’s prophecy was fulfilled on that Day, never to be repeated as the enthusiasts have claimed from Montanus to this day.

Crowder must twist the scriptures violently to be able to teach that these sovereign events in the salvific economy of God are actually available to all of God’s people. Let’s consider the topics Crowder teaches:

Operate in Trances, Raptures & Ecstatic Prayer

Are trances biblical? Yes there are examples of a few people being in a trance state in the Bible.

And the man whose eyes are open hath said: He hath said, which heard the words of God,

Which saw the vision of the Almighty, Falling into a trance, but having his eyes open: (Numbers 24: 3-4).

And he became very hungry, and would have eaten: but while they made ready, he fell into a trance, And saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending unto him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth: Wherein were all manner of fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air. And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill and eat. But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean. And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common. This was done thrice: and the vessel was received up again into heaven. Now while Peter doubted in himself which this vision which he had seen should mean, behold, (Acts 10:10-17)

“Now it happened, when I returned to Jerusalem and was praying in the temple, that I as in a trance and saw Him saying to me, ‘Make haste and get out of Jerusalem quickly, for they will not receive your testimony concerning Me.’ So I said, ‘Lord they know that in every synagogue I imprisoned and beat those who believe on You. And when the blood of Your martyr Stephen was shed, I also was standing by consenting to his death, and guarding the clothes of those who were killing him. ‘ Then He said to me, ‘Depart for I will send you far from here to the Gentiles.” (Acts 22:17-21)

That is it for the biblical record of three events. The first example is with the false prophet Balaam. The second is of the Apostle Peter being supernaturally informed that the Gentiles were to be included in the Kingdom as well. Peter still was learning and had not gotten the understanding that the Jews were to be a light to the Gentiles and God had to get his attention in a dramatic fashion. So dramatic that Peter initially doubted what he had experienced (as opposed to immediately starting up a trance ministry)! Lastly we have the Apostle Paul, who is warned by His Lord to depart and go to the Gentiles, thanks to his obedience the Gospel was spread around the world.

In both N.T. examples we see God dealing with His Apostles directly. Both trances were instructional for these men, who in turn informed the church. The result was no less than the ongoing conversion of the Gentile world. It is important to note that neither men sought these experiences. These trances were initiated by God for very important reasons (the spread of the Gospel, e.g. the salvation of the world).

So far we know that trances did occur three times in the bible. We also know that during these trances Peter and Paul both heard the voice of Jesus. Peter seeing the table cloth & critters and Paul seeing our Lord Himself. Yet what exactly is a trance?

TRANCE The Gk. Word ekstasis (lit ‘standing outside’ or ‘being put outside’. i.e. of one’s normal state of mind) is rendered ‘trance’ in Acts 10:10; 11:5; 22:17, where it forms the condition of a vision. The trance state has never been fully explained, but it involves an overriding of normal consciousness and perception. In the only two occurrences of the strange Heb. Word sanwerim, translated ‘blindness’ in Gn. 19:11 and 2 Ki 6:18, it is clear that a trancelike state of hypnotic suggestibility is indicated. (8)

A Charismatic definition: The Greek word for ‘trance” is “ekstasis.” It means “the displacement of the mind.” This is an experience where your physical senses are suspended and you are unaware of your physical surroundings. You do not know, for the moment, exactly where you are or sometimes even who you are. A Scriptural trance is unrelated to a hypnotic trance. You cannot come out of a hypnotic trance if the hypnotist will not allow you to come out. You can come out of a Scriptural trance if you choose to do so. (9)

The definitions need no further explanation. What I would like explained to us is how Crowder can possibly offer to teach people how to operate in trances. Can I or anyone teach someone what a strawberry tastes like, or adequately describe the color orange to a blind man? No, the best we can do is describe what we have personally experienced and in sharing that with others is the extent to which they can “enter into” our subjective experience. Crowder can give no biblical directions to induce a trance state which means he has to rely on other sources for his information. Crowder will point to someone like Maria Woodworth Etter, aka the “Trance Evangelist” [1844-1924]. Etter was famous for going into a standing catatonic state for days and while in a ‘trance state” large numbers of people were supposed to have been brought to faith in Christ just by observing her standing frozen. (10)

Next he promises to teach ecstatic prayer which is no “biggie” in that sign-gift folks have been teaching people to speak in ecstatic speech for over a hundred years in America. Some charismatic groups have this instruction down to a science. The former Word of God Community in Ann Arbor, MI taught “life in the Spirit” seminars at the end of which we would speak in other tongues, I know I did. The Way International, charismatic cult, has long taught its devotees how to speak in tongues using tape recordings.

Speaking in other tongues today is what I call the “gateway drug” into enthusiasm.  Virtually every sign-gifter begins by speaking in tongues, from there some wander off into prophesying, interpreting tongues, etc. In fact such speaking is the glue that unites all sign-gift people, it certainly is not doctrine!

The novelty of the post Apostolic tongues movement is the emphasis on this expression being given as a supernatural power to pray. Tongues is universally taught as a private prayer language between the speaker and God and only God knows what is being said thus the devil cannot interfere. In my days as a single charisManiac I used to pray in other tongues between 2 ½ to 3 hours per day without pause. I did this for years. I know from experience that praying for protracted lengths of time in other tongues does place one in an altered state of consciousness by stilling the conscious mind and allowing some otherwise suppressed or unconscious portion to take charge. Speaking for myself, I did not have the biblical gift of other tongues (speaking an unknown language) so the feelings and experiences I had could not have had their source in God, regardless of my nascent devotional sincerity. At best my own imaginings or at worst something far darker. (11)

In order to create the right conditions to enter into a manmade trance all that one needs to do is to pray in other tongues for several hours, combine it with a few days of total fasting and a strong desire to ‘experience’ something will usually result in some sort of break with our commonly shared reality.

Experience Physical Phenomena of Mysticism

This promise is even more of a stretch biblically. Fasting could be about the only biblical practice that is common to the Christian mystics of the past, but I believe Crowder is referring to the usual crop of revival manifestations with a heavy emphasis on being slain in the spirit since many people claim to see visions or receive revelations while doing “carpet time.” (12) DMI and others have proven how easily transferable these manifestations are from one person to another (willing/open) vessel. Crowder and those attending his classes expect these manifestations, they embrace them and more have already seen or experienced them in the past.

What benefit is these to experiencing mystical phenomena? The attending phenomena is not the content of the mystical encounter anyway. For example, I have been slain in the spirit probably around 80 times over the years. Many mystics claim the same experience, yet I never saw any visions, trips to heaven or hell while slain. So same “phenomena” yet not the same experience, ergo, what’s the point Mr. Crowder?

Get Activated in Creative Miracles, Signs & Wonders

The belief that certain people can both impart and activate spiritual gifts was true only for the Apostles of the Lamb. In the book of Acts we see the Apostles being called upon to bestow (impart) the Holy Spirit. We have no biblical example of non-apostles bestowing any spiritual gifts. THIS IS HUGE Folks because with their death all such spiritual gifting/apostolic impartation passed away.

Crowder is simply one of many voices claiming to now be able to activate spiritual gifts including signs and wonders which are not typically included as part of the nine gifts of the Holy Spirit cited in 1 Cor. 11-12. Here are a few examples of how this dangerous delusion is spreading:

Activating the Angelic: Keys to Releasing the Holy Spirit and Unlocking the Miraculous

There’s an invisible barrier between the natural and the supernatural that’s penetrated only by people daring enough to risk everything on an encounter with the miraculous. In Disc 1, Larry reveals “seldom heard” concepts about how to release the working of miracles. Also insightful, are 5 laws of faith revealed in Disc 2 that will cause your heart to dance on the edge of the miraculous Revelatory teaching, with practical application. (http://larry randolph.com/store/mp3-download/activating-the-miraculous.htm)

 

Sword of the Spirit’s School of the Prophets “Activate the Miraculous thru the Seer Anointing” in Buffalo, April 1” (“www.swordofthespiritministries.com )

Kevin conducts Supernatural Lifestyle Conferences in which people are equipped, empowered, and activated in miracles, healing, prophetic, and evangelism as a normal lifestyle of the believer. Kevin also oversees the Firestarter Class, which equips and empowers newcomers and new believers to live as revivalists -healing the sick, prophesying, and supernatural evangelism.(http://www.global celebration.com/news/240/61/Miracles-Signs-Wonders—Kalamazoo-MI )

All of these people claim to be the dispensers of God’s power, they claim to equ9ip, empower, and activate miracles and yet NONE of them can provide any proof of the miraculous in their own SINistries. The only miracles in their meetings are people falling down in some form of a fugue state, people speaking in gibberish, others prophesying in the name of Jesus this that and the other. . .nothing from God is being imparted. The Bible plainly states:

For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues; But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he wills. (13) 1 Cor. 12:8-11

All of the genuine gifts of the Holy Spirit are given as He wills not according to the will of fallen man. It is the sovereign good pleasure of God alone regarding which gifts He gives to the Church. No man has the authority or ability to dispense supernatural gifts as he wills, nor can anyone declare in advance which gift (if any) the Holy Spirit will bestow. For Mr. Crowder or anyone to assert that they can activate spiritual gifts is simply a LIE and Mr. Crowder is a liar.

Understand & Access New Creation Realities

If words mean anything then at this point Crowder seems to promise that participants will understand and access new creation realities which seem straightforward enough. All Christians need to grow in their understanding of who they are in Christ Jesus as new creatures ‘in Christ’ (2 Cor. 5:17). New Creation Realities is a term coined by E.W. Kenyon, the faith of today’s Word of Faith cult. Kenyon, although not a Pentecostal, was convinced that god’s children were to walk and operate in the supernatural realm as part of their redemption in Christ.

 

Continued Next Month

In the next issue all of the foot notes will be included there was simply no space for them in this issue.

Copyright © 2012 Rev. Robert S. Liichow





Christological Confusions

21 01 2011

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

Discernment Ministries International

Christological Confusions

Rev. Bob Liichow

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What Did Branham Believe About the godhead?

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

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

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

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

Their Ancient Error

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

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

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

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

 

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

1. Is Jesus His own Father?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Copyright © 2011 Robert S. Liichow

Some Titles to Consider

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

2. Know What You Believe, Paul E. Little

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

4. Systematic Theology, Millard Ericson

End Notes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

8. Ibid

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





Bay of the Holy Spirit Revival

15 12 2010
Truth Matters Newsletters – December 2010 – Vol. 15  Issue 12 – Bay of the Holy Spirit Revival – By Rev. Robert Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

Bay of the Holy Spirit Revival

Rev. Bob Liichow

This time the location has changed from Pensacola & Toronto to the gulf coast of Mobile Alabama.

The reason DMI has not jumped immediately onto the bandwagon of wall watchers on this one is because it is so lame. The men who were evicted from their pulpits are involved in this latest display of carnality and works righteousness. Please keep in mind that both Kilpatrick (Pensacola) and Arnott (Toronto) both lost their pulpits when the hoopla died down. Needless to say all the “leaders” of these former movements of excess became very wealthy due to the largess of the attendees. Both men and their accompanying music leaders took their show on the road and after a few months of traveling tapped an un-mined vein of potential dupes and a rag-tag assortment of charismaniacs in seek of the next cosmic fix in Mobile, AL

Please go back to our Blog at http://discernmentministriesinternational.wordpress.com    re-read all that DMI has researched and written about revival and simply insert Mobile in place of Pensacola or Toronto and you will have the same cast of shady characters running the show (or their disciples).

I have nothing positive to say about this latest example of spiritual debauchery and no new insights as to why people continue to love to be deceived even when the deceivers have been proven to be liars and frauds. Even after all the behind-the-scenes revelations from both Pensacola and Toronto, books, newsletters, Youtube accounts (see videos below), people still choose their experience over and above God’s Word.

I am concerned for people when God graciously presents them with His truth and they reject It in favor of their own experiences which they use to validate their incorrect biblical understanding and practices. Such people are in a very precarious spiritual situation and are in need of our intercession. There are two passages of text which ought to give every sentient being pause to think regarding the rejection of God’s mercy when it is offered:

Because I have called and ye refused: I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded; but ye have set at nought all my counsel, And would none of my reproof I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh; When your fear cometh as desolation, And your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; When distress and anguish cometh upon you. Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; They shall seek me early, but they shall not find me: For that they hated knowledge, And did not choose the fear of the LORD: They would none of my counsel: They despised all my reproof. Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, And be filled with their own devices. For the turning away of the simple shall slay them, And the prosperity of fools shall destroy them. Proverbs 1: 24-32

Every blow of Noah’s hammer was a warning of impending judgment. Yet all the people laughed at Noah and rejected his message. For a little over 100 years God granted the people a “space of grace” to repent, but they would not and then “Jehovah shut him in” (Gen. 7:16) and they were all destroyed.

The time comes when God allows man to have his own way which always ends up in destruction and death (Pro. 14:12). For over fifteen years Apologetic Ministries including DMI have been crying out to the Body of Christ as watchmen on the wall—-

Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel, therefore hear the word at My mouth and give them warning(Eze. 3:17)

Nothing good is headed towards the lives of these SINisters unless they repent of their sins. They have been confronted many times and shown the error of their ways and they have (1) refused correction, (2) would not accept reproof and (3) have spurned the open hand of God, i.e. that which He freely offers us through the Gospel. As always, God is the aggressor in the relationship and He has thus far been treated as a spurned lover! Because they have rejected God’s bounty in the Gospel He will give them over to their own ways. Never forget what the Apostle Paul warns of in his letter to the Church at Rome:

And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenant breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who know the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them. Rom. 1:1-28-32

Those who reject the goodness of God are left only to experience His wrath in this life and the ageless eternity to come. I highlighted in green just a few of the common traits found among our current crop of televangelists. For the record I consider the various gimmicks, points-of-contact, etc. as “evil things” having been invented by covetous people. Don’t be swayed by their “god-talk” even a parrot can be trained to say “Jesus is Lord” and a chimp can sign those words too, big deal!

The next text that concerns me greatly when it comes to the Copeland’s, Hinn’s, Dollar, Crouch’s, et.al. is the following:

Many shall say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied through thy name, and through thy name cast out demons, and through thy name done many works of power? And then will I avow unto them, I never knew you. Depart from me, workers of lawlessness. Matthew 7:22

The saddest words ever uttered and heard are “I never knew you.” The Greek word for “never” is best translated as having never known you at any point in time. (1) On that day Jesus will look people in the eye, people who called Him “Lord,” folks who prophesied in His name (falsely), who through the name of Jesus even cast out evil spirits and did some sort of powerful works. Jesus’ response? I NEVER knew you at all, you NEVER at any time belonged to Me. This is not what they are expecting to hear, after all, they offer up to the Lord their bona fides by stating their good works done in His name. All of which avails them nothing, but the wrath of a Jealous God. The context of our Lord’s statement is clear, He goes on to speak about the one who is approved by God and that one is the person who receives (hears) and does (acts) the Word of God humbly acknowledging that “father knows best.”

I fear with godly fear for Mr. Kilpatrick, Steve Hill, and all the others who go about proclaiming “revival” and great “moves” of the Holy Spirit when in reality there is no revival nor anything moving but sweaty stinky excited flesh.

I urge that this Advent season (historically it is a Penitential Season) you take time to pray for those involved in all forms of biblical error that our Lord may yet be gracious still towards them and grant them repentance. ¨

Copyright © 2010 Robert S. Liichow

** See John Kilpatrick, Lindell Cooley and Nathan Morris promote this latest ‘Revival’

 

Fire falls on Young People at Revival: 

A  warning for believers about the latest Revivalto Test the Spirit 1 John 4:1

End Notes

1. 3763 oo-dep’-ot-eh; from 3761 and 4218; not even at any time, i.e. never at all; —neither at any time, never, nothing at any time.





Does the Bible Support A Doctrine of Being Slain in the Spirit? Part 3 of 3

25 03 2010
Truth Matters Newsletters – December 2009 – Vol. 14 Issue 12 – Does the Bible Support A Doctrine of Being Slain in the Spirit? Part 3 of 3 – By Rev. Robert Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

Does the Bible Support A Doctrine of Being Slain in the Spirit?

Part 3 of 3

By Rev. Robert S. Liichow

Slain in the spirit

“I have fallen “under the power” dozens of times That is why I can tell you, by experience, that the fear of man and the fear of missing out was always the strongest reason to fall to the floor. I did not want to look less willing than anyone else. Nor did I want my inability to yield to the moving of the Spirit to be interpreted as rebellion or unbelief. When you are standing in front of all your peers and respected leaders and they lay their hands on you, let me tell you, the pressure is on. Especially when you are up on stage and all expectant eyes are watching you. That is why many preachers have followed this pattern. They find more success with “manifestations” if they call miracle candidates up to the platform. The intimidation of the platform “weeds out” those who are uncertain. I can tell you by experience that it wasn’t the fear of God I was struggling with. It was the fear of not looking as spiritual as some of the others. Fear causes us to go with the flow even if it doesn’t make sense. “

Mr. Brooks admits to peer pressure and the need to conform to the group and expectations of the minister. People who fall and recognized as people who have fully yielded to the Holy Spirit in charismatic circles. Falling is a sign of spirituality. Laying on the carpet for hours would indicate a “deep” work of God in that person’s life.

It is evident that this is learned behavior because it does not occur with any regularity among non-charismatic or Pentecostal people. It is also easy to demonstrate the large number of people who fake being slain in the spirit by simply not having any catchers present. I know from past experience when there were no catchers available in the service, when prayer time came nobody fell out! If the Holy Spirit is indeed causing the people to fall, then He is certainly able to protect them from harm, i.e. there is no need for catchers if this is the work of God. Yet there are catchers because all of the ministers know people do fake it, and fake it quite a bit. They must indemnify themselves from possible civil litigation.

Hypnosis

Anton Mesner caused people to be slain in the spirit using hypnotic suggestions. Cited below are examples of Mesner at work:

He stares at one man and commands “Dormez!” The man’s eyes close, his head falls to his chest. A shudder runs through the other patients. He points his iron scepter at a nearby woman, she falls prey to his charms and cries out that tingling sensations are running wildly through her body. Eventually, these strange feelings begin to possess the others in the circle. Some even begin to flail and swoon about.

Mesmer would have soft music playing in the background, at times someone hidden singing softly, the room was filled with burning incense and were dimly lit. Mesmer’s assistants would gather those seeking this new experience and begin to hypnotize them.

Gradually the cheeks of the ladies began to glow, their imaginations to become inflamed; and off they went, one after the other, in convulsive fits. Some of them sobbed and tore their hair, others laughed till the tears ran from their eyes, while other shrieked and screamed and yelled till they became insensible altogether…They became calm, acknowledged his power, and said they felt streams of cold or burning vapour passing through their frames, according as he waved his wand or fingers before them.”

Mesmer’s original techniques have been improved upon since the late 1700’s but the effects of being mesmerized have stayed constant. He brought people into an altered state of consciousness through incense, music, and dim lighting. The people came knowing what to expect, he had publicized his powers prior to opening his salon in Paris. Combining these two elements he was able to cause people to become open to suggestions that normally they would not have acquiesced to.

Impartation

In today’s charismatic services many of Mesner’s techniques can be easily discerned. For example, in our former church, Jubilee Christian Church, the pastor would dim the lights during worship. The congregation would sing repetitious songs, sometimes for almost two hours. Often towards the end of the dimly lit worship service we would all begin to sing in other tongues. Then the lights would be raised and we as a congregation were open to receive whatever the pastor had impart to us. The elements of the dimly lit room, the mind numbing repetitious songs, combined with singing in tongues brought us as a people into an altered state of consciousness and openness to the suggestions from the pulpit. I must state that I do not believe this was done consciously by the pastor of that church, but the results were the same.

 

At Toronto much of this same pattern is followed. They have long periods of loud singing and dancing (protracted singing and dancing have long been used as means of entering trances states in almost every world religion). The same simple song refrains are sung over and over again. After this portion of the service is over there is usually a very short sermon given, then testimonies from various people on how the revival has transformed them, often examples When hands are laid on them, is it any wonder that they fall down? While the ministry is going on music is playing , they see others falling, laughing, shaking, and dancing. All of this has an undeniable influence on the attendee’s mind set. Thus, they too fall down and do carpet time or begin to join in the very infectious laughter. Now they too have got the “blessing.”

Slain TACF 99'

of the various manifestations are recited as well. Then it is ministry time, it is time to come and get the “Toronto Blessing.” People have traveled from all over the world to be at TACF, now is the moment they have been waiting for…now is the time for them to receive the revival impartation.

Demonic Activity

Many critics of the revival are content to leave this and other manifestations as purely fleshly exhibits of emotionalism gone wild, which is a valid judgment of much of what does occur in these meetings. However, as unpleasant as it may be to the sensibilities of many Christians there is another explanation which cannot be ignored, that of demonic influence. Dr. Kurt Koch has done extensive research on demon possession and here is an account he relates of a man who became demonically influenced when he was slain in the spirit, (underlining added for emphasis):

Mark (not his name) was a Christian in a church that he thought was formal and dead. He went to a Pentecostal church, where hands were laid on him, and he was what they called “slain in the spirit”. He was lying on the floor in a trance. When he came out if it, he was praising Jesus in a loud voice, and he continued praising. While attending this Pentecostal church, Mark also received a gift of tongues. The name of the spirit of the tongue was “Domenigaio, how many associates are with you in Mark?” I am alone,” When did you enter him?” “When he was slain in the spirit. Who sent you?” “The devil, from the pit.” Do you acknowledge our authority over you in Christ Jesus our Lord?” I do,” What is your commission from Satan?” To deceive.” How? “In his love for the Lord Jesus; ruin his faith; have him follow Satan.” You were posing as the Holy Spirit, weren’t you?Yes.”

According to Dr. Koch, this man came under demonic influence while he was in a trance state brought through being slain in the spirit. This deceiving psirit posed as the Holy Spirit and was cast out when Dr. Koch and his fellow ministers rebuked the evil spirit in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Biblically we see the demon activity can be quite diverse in operation.

Just as the Western psychologists are proffering ancient shamanistic practices in a guise which is more palatable to the uninitiated Westerners, so the professing Christian churches which peddle ‘religious fainting” have simply made the Possession-Trance state of shamanism more readily acceptable to the undiscerning sheep who attend their heated meetings. These are the true origins of the strange phenomena which are being so widely reported today and which are bringing the gospel and the Church of Jesus Christ into so much disrepute.

Slain in the spirit

Larry Thomas is correct in tracing the practice of being slain in the spirit back to occult roots. At the beginning of this chapter I cited the Shaker roots of this practice, and they were unashamedly devoted to spiritualism. Rodney Howard-Browne, the man responsible for unleashing holy laughter on America admits the possibility of demonic activity in the manifestations:

I’d rather be in church where the devil and the flesh are manifesting than in a church where nothing is happening because people are too afraid to manifest anything…And if a devil manifests, don’t worry about that, either, Rejoice, because at least something is happening.

Mr. Browne’s attitude is unacceptable, he argues extremes, either we have manifestations in the church or we have nothing. This is a form of “the excluded middle” form of reasoning, he neglects the possibility of having a sound congregation without a fleshly or demonic manifestations. Why should Christians rejoice when the flesh or demons are manifesting? Should we not rather rejoice because they are not in manifestation at all?

Jessie Penn-Lewis (whose ministry or major writings we do not endorse) and Evan Roberts wrote a book entitled War on the Saints, which was written during the Walse revival, which preceded the Azusa revival by several years. They saw the work in Wales devolve into fanaticism and demonism and exposed it in a book. People have often recounted visions and other paranormal experiences while slain in the spirit, Lewis and Roberts give some insight on this phenomena:

When evil spirits are able to give visions, it is an evidence that they have already gained ground in the man, be he a Christian or an unbeliever. The “ground” being, not of necessity known sin, but a condition of passivity, i.e., non-action of the mind, imagination, and other faculties. This essential condition of passive non-action as the means of obtaining supernatural manifestations, is well understood by spiritist mediums, clairvoyants, crystal gazers, and others, who know that the least action on the mind immediately breaks the clairvoyant state. Believers not knowing these main principles can unwittingly fulfill the condition for evil spirits to work in the life, ignorantly induce the passive state by wrong conceptions of the true things of God. (bolding and underlining added for emphasis)

They realized that when people in the Wales revival became mentally passive, or suspended their rational thinking abilities through various spiritual exercises that deceiving spirits gained a foot hold in their minds. Peter encourages us to gird up the loins of our minds (1 Peter 1:13) and to be sober, not intoxicated by anything.

Satan is a real foe, he was defeated by Christ on the cross, yet we still contend against his wiles (Eph. 6:11). If there was no spiritual battle for us to fight then Peter and Paul would not have labored warning us about Satan and his workers. Submitting ones mind to non-biblical practices, such as entering into trance-states, could be an open invitation for deceiving spirits to enter into the minds of God’s people.

Some Biblical Examples of Falling Backwards

There are biblical examples of people falling backwards (keep in mind 99% of all those slain fall backwards). However, these verses are never cited by our sign-gift friends, upon reading them you shall know why. The following comes from Dr. Ken Motto on the topic of being Slain in the Spirit (http://www.scionofzion.com.htm ).

As we will see, in the Bible, falling backward is always associated with some type of judgment, which in itself is a strong warning of the final judgment in Revelation 20: The following Scripture passages shed light on falling backward:

(1 Sam 4:18 KJV) And it came to pass, when he made mention of the ark of God, that he fell from off the seat backward by the side of the gate, and his neck brake, and he died: for he was an old man, and heavy. And he had judged Israel forty years.

(John 18:6 KJV) As soon then as he had said unto them, I am he, they went backward, and fell to the ground.

These are two actual, historical events which show us that falling backward is a judgment. God also uses the word “backward” in conjunction with sin and rebellion.

(Gen 49:17 KJV) Dan shall be a serpent by the way, an adder in the path, that biteth the horse heels, so that his rider shall fall backward.

(Psa. 70:2 KJV) Let them be ashamed and confounded that seek after my soul: let them be turned backward, and put to confusion, that desire my hurt.

(Isa 1:4 KJV) Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters: they have forsaken the LORD, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel unto anger, they are gone away backward.

(Isa 28:13 KJV) But the word of the LORD was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken.

(Jer. 7:24 KJV) But they hearkened not, nor inclined their ear, but walked in the counsels and in the imagination of their evil hearts, and went backward, and not forward.

(Jer. 15:6 KJV) Thou hast forsaken me, saith the LORD, thou art gone backward: therefore will I stretch out my hand against thee, and destroy thee; I am weary with repenting.

(Lam 1:8 KJV) Jerusalem hath grievously sinned; therefore she is removed: all that honoured her despise her, because they have seen her nakedness: yea, she sigheth, and turneth backward.

Other verses that illuminate this teaching are found in: Gen. 19:26; Psalm 53:3; Luke 9:62; 17:32; Acts 7:39; Hebrews 10:38,39. In all these verses, back or backward is directly related to judgment. Those who believe they are being slain in the spirit are actually under the judgment of God. Satan comes as an angel of light and we must be aware of his counterfeit gospels.

Although some of the above cited texts have nothing to do with the actual practice of laying hands on people to receive some form of “spiritual blessing,” the context is certain — backward movement is biblically seen as a judgment from God and not a good thing.

It is my contention that since it is not a Biblical practice those who profess the name of Christ ought to have nothing to do with it. We should be even more concerned by such mystical encounters when such a manifestation are taught and recorded in various non-Christian cult groups and religions. May the Lord God bring His people out of superstitious ignorance and into the true light of His Holy Word. ♦

Copyright © 2009 Robert S. Liichow

* (Color-highlighting and some bolding and underlining is added for emphasis and is not in the original book by Robert S.Liichow

End Notes

1. Burgess, Stanley and Gary B. McGee. Dictionary of Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements Zondervan, 1995, pg. 789

2. Inside The Toronto Blessing is a new video (1997) in which various participants and even a medical doctor go into detail regarding why people fall under the power.

3. White, John, When The Spirit Comes With Power, IVP, 1988, pg. 95

4. Williams, Charles L. I’m Not Sure I Like What is Going On A pamphlet handed out at an Assemblies of God church in Grand Rapids MI. The pamphlet endeavors to explain the various manifestations which occur in a revival service.

5. FAQ refers to “frequently asked questions” in internet lingo.

6. Paraphrased from a August 1st video of the afternoon session at TACF 1997.

7. Revival Glory is a Pentecostal ministry whose Founder, Ruth Heflin, now deceased, brought Silvania Machado into the USA. Silvania is known for her alleged gold dust manifestation, which was proven to be fraudulent.

8. Obtained from the Revival Glory web site on 01-02-01 members. the globe.com/RevivalGlory/manifest/slain.html

9. Gott, en, Lois. The Sunderland Refreshing. Hodder & Stoughton. London, England. 1995, pg. 189

10. Fisher, G. Richard, Goedelman, M. Kurt The Confusing World of Benny Hinn. Personal Freedom Outreach Publication. Saint Louis, MO. 1995, p.26

11. Elmer T. Clark, Strange Sects in America, Abingdon Press, 1937), 88

Doris Faber, The Perfect Life The Shakers in America, (New York: Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, 1974), 90

12. Mike Sublett, Revival At Cane Ridge, taken from http://www.bstone/people.html,

13. Holman Bible Dictionary, WORLDSearch Bible Study Software CD ROM, (Austin: NavPress Software, 1994).

14. I was formerly a neo-Montanist minister and during almost twenty years of full-time ministry within the charismatic renewal movement I was “slain in the spirit” many times and laid my hands on about one thousand people, many of which were subsequently “slain in the spirit” once my hand were placed on them. I can testify that the experience is one in which the individual is truly “out of control” as the Holman Bible Dictionary defines ecstasy.

15. Iain H. Murray, Revival & Revivalism The Making and Marring of American Evangelicalism 1750-1858, (Carlisle: Banner of Truth Trust, 1994), 167

16. Charles Finney, Memoirs (New York: A.S. Barnes & Co. , 1876), 44-45.

17. Ibid. 103

18. Iain H. Murray, Revival & Revivalism The Making and Marring of American Evangelicalism 1750-1858 (Carlisle: Banner of Truth Trust, 1994) 243-247.

19. Etter-Woodworth, Maria. Signs and Wonders, Harrison House. 1916 reprint. Pg. 145

20. Burgess Stanley and Gary McGee. Dictionary of Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements. 1995 pg. 900

21. Bahr, Robert, Least of All Saints, The Story of Aimee Semple McPherson, Prentice Hall, 1979, p. 105

22. Burgess, Stanley and McGee. Dictionary of Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements. 1995. Pg. 529

23. The Westminister Confession of Faith, The Master Christian Library ver. 5 CD ROM, (Albany; Ages Software, 1997), 56

24. Ted Brooks, And We All Fall Down, obtained from http://www.west_teq.net/~tbrooks, on June 2, 1998

25. Obtained from http://www.mesner.com/docs/info/franz.html, on June 2, 1998

26. Charles Mackay, Extraordinary Poplar Delusions and the Madness of Crowds, (New York; Three Rivers Press, 1979), 339

27. Singing in other tongues was done as a congregation, the effect is the same as “praying” in tongues, ones rational thinking mind is silenced. We understood Paul’s word ‘the mind is unfruitful” (1 Cor. 14:14) as a good thing and tongues was an excellent method of silencing ones carnal mind.

28. Kurt Koch, Occult ABC Charismatic Movements and Demon Possession, (Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 1978) 33,34

29. Larry Thomas, No Laughing Matter. (Excelsior Springs: Double Crown Publishing, 1995), 148

30. Rodney Howard-Browne, The Coming Revival, (Louisville: R.H.B.E.A. Publications, 1991), 6

31. Jessie-Penn-Lewis with Evan Roberts, War on the Saints, (New York: Thomas Love, 1994), 149





Does the Bible Support A Doctrine of Being Slain in the Spirit? Part 2 of 3

22 03 2010
Truth Matters Newsletters – November 2009 – Vol. 14 Issue 11 – Does the Bible Support A Doctrine of Being Slain in the Spirit? Part 2 of 3 – by Rev. Robert S. Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

Does the Bible Support A Doctrine of Being Slain in the Spirit?

Part 2 of 3

By Rev. Robert S. Liichow

The “Ministry” of the Catchers

This phenomena has caused the need to develop a “new” ministry within the church, that of the Catcher. No matter where you go, whether it is to a revival service at Toronto, Pensacola or a Vineyard Fellowship you will encounter the ministry of the Catchers. This is an actual “ministry” within charismatic fellowships and people are trained in how to fulfill this duty (it is often done by the ushers within a local assembly).

A catcher is a man who stands behind those receiving prayer. Their job is to “catch” the people who are being slain in the spirit. The catchers job is to make sure the person being “blessed” does no harm to themselves or those around them. Charismatic congregations even have written guidelines for catchers:

Tips For Catching People:

1. Do not touch the person being prayed for, but reassure them that there is someone behind them.

2. You don’t have to take a hold of their shoulders as if you are going to help God.

3. As the person moves down, move back and then facilitate their move.

4. Men- be careful when touching women.

5. Get them to fall back, not forward.

6. Catchers – ONLY catch, do not pray. Do not wave your hands only stand and be ready to catch.

7. Please do not push or pull anyone over. God does not need any help and it will ultimately backfire.

8. Do not hold anyone up by grabbing their shoulders or upper back.

Let me begin by asking a rhetorical question. If the power of God is knocking people down and placing them in an altered state of consciousness for the purpose of spiritually blessing them, then why do these churches employ the use of catchers?

The answer is quite simple —- if people are falling flat on their backs from an upright position they are very liable to hurt themselves or others.

We previously read that extremists explain this manifestation as being the result of encountering the power and presence of the Holy Spirit. If this is so, He is not mighty enough to see to it that those He sovereignty knocks down are unhurt by His blessing?

These churches employ catchers because: (1) they know people fake being slain many times. (2) They lack faith in their own stated beliefs. Obviously God is not big enough to safeguard His people.

In our former church along with the male catchers we had sisters who came along beside or behind the catchers with large sheets of material. Their ministry was to place these sheets over the women’s legs and bodies. Why? Because many times when women would be slain in the spirit they would fall in very immodest positions.

We had events where when some unfortunate women fell their dresses would be hiked up their bodies quite a bit, and their legs would be splayed out at inappropriate angles. When the Lord choose to embarrass His daughters in this manner we had to be there to quickly cover up their shame. Does this really sound like something the Lord God would do to His daughters?

Not only can being slain in the spirit prove to be embarrassing to a woman, it can prove deadly as well. Mrs. Ella Peppard died as a result of someone falling on her who had been slain in the spirit.

The ushers quickly pulled her off the stage and sat her in a pew where she cried out in pain for 20 minutes….The woman’s family alleged the ushers refused to call an ambulance because an ambulance would not look good at a miracle service. A lawsuit was settled out of court. Hinn says he never knew the woman was injured or he would have sought medical help.

According to charismatic theology the Holy Spirit will place women in morally embarrassing positions, and at times allow some people to be hurt and/or killed.

I know from past experience (I used to be a catcher) that when there was no one standing behind a saint receiving prayer nine times out of ten they would not fall down. This alone is proof to me that what is taking place is not a sovereign move of the power of God. There is a power involved at times but it is not of God.

3

The Historical Roots of the Phenomenon

I began by citing Stanley Burgess’s definition in the first chapter and it is a good one except for one point – he says it is a relatively “modern” expression. His statement is not correct. People have been allegedly falling under the power in the United States since the early 1760’s. It was a common expression among the Shakers. There were groups before the Shakers in Europe, which had this same manifestation:

The Convolutionaries

The extreme exercises of the “convolution Aries” startled Belgium and France. The grave of a young Jansenist clergyman, Francois de Paris, in the cemetery of Saint-Medard in Paris, because the scene of reputed marvelous cures. Multitudes flocked thither for healing. Strange bodily agitations seized the devotees. They fell in shakings and convulsions, threw themselves about on the ground, screamed, and assumed unusual and often unseemly postures.

The Shaker’s

Later on in the mid seventeen hundreds in America the Shaker cult also had people falling under the power. Their bodily agitations or exercise were various and called by various names, as the falling exercise…The falling exercise was very common…The subject of this exercise would, generally with a piercing scream, fall like a log on the floor, earth, or mud, and appear as dead.

The Shakers were a cult group led by a woman named Ann Lee. Many of the manifestations which are common to charismatic extremism, were first practiced by the Shakers. Since the Shakers were a pagan cult the source of their manifestations could not have been the Holy Spirit.

The Shakers were very evangelistic in their zeal to propagate their false doctrines & practices. Shaker evangelists were involved with the Cane Ridge “Revival,” and brought their manifestations (which they called “signs”) with them and infected the meetings.

People Were “Slain” During the Cane Ridge Revival

It was during the Cane Ridge meetings that we see more examples of the manifestation of being slain in the spirit. The underlining is added for emphasis:

The scene to me was new and passing strange…Many, very many fell down, as men slain in battle, and continued for hours together in an apparently breathless and motionless state sometimes for a few moments reviving, and exhibiting symptoms of life by a deep groan, or piercing shriek, or by a prayer for mercy most fervently uttered…Then the woman who had first stated shouting let out a shrill of anguish. Methodist John McGee, seemingly entranced, made his way to comfort her. Someone (probably his Presbyterian brother) reminded him this was a Presbyterian church; the congregation would not condone emotionalism! Later John recalled, “I turned to go back and was near falling; the power of God was strong upon me. I turned again and, losing sight of the fear of man, I went through the house shouting and exhorting with all possible ecstasy and energy, and the floor was soon covered with the slain” people were falling in ecstasy.

This eyewitness of the Cane Ridge excess described the people falling in “ecstasy,” but is this necessarily a good thing? Pagan religion has long been given over to ecstatic forms of worship (see 1 Kings 18:28). The Oracle at Delphi breathed in the fumes which rose from the ground and in an ecstatic state uttered prophecies which directed the lives of many people.

ECSTASY The state of being in a trance, especially a mystic or prophetic trance. The derivation of our word “ecstasy” (from the Greek ek, out plus stasis, state) suggests an out of body state (2 Cor. 12:2,3) or the state of being out of control.

From what I have personally witnessed and experienced being slain in the spirit is a condition in which the individual’s normal rational mental state is suspended, and that person is for a period of time literally out of control. During the Shaker meetings and at Cane Ridge we find multitudes of people capitulating their volitional sensibilities over to an experience which was so great it physically overwhelmed them. However, it was also noted by the orthodox Reformed ministers at Cane Ridge, that a person simply getting slain was not a true indicator of spiritual regeneration, “They noted that some who “fell” had within six months gone back to the world.”

The Ministry of Charles Finney

After the Cane Ridge revival the experience of being slain in the spirit became common in many revival meetings. One evangelist in particular whose revival meetings were patterned after the emotional excesses of Cane Ridge was Charles Finney. In many of his meetings people were slain in the spirit:

Before the week was out I learned that some of them, when they would attempt to observe this season of prayer, would lose all of their strength and be unable to rise to their feet, or even stand upon their knees in their closets.

The congregation began to fall from their seats in every direction, and cried for mercy. If I had had a sword in each hand, I could not have cut them off their seats as fast as they fell

Finney was not particularly concerned with scriptural precedent, he was interested in getting result and fostered the belief that revival was not a sovereign move of God’s Spirit, but that revivals could be planned and worked up by the use of what he called new measures.

The Ministry of Maria Woodworth Etter

Being slain in the spirit was one of the ordinary signs in the ministry of Maria Woodworth-Etter (1844-1924) the trance evangelist.

Yesterday during the afternoon meeting the Lord Jesus bowed the heaven and came down. Many went under the power. Two women and a girl were struck down unconscious, and lay on the floor…The second woman lay unconscious for about two and one-half hours, with both arms raised to heaven. When she was recovering she sang praises unto God in the spirit.”

Her ministry manifestations began in 1885, 21 years before the Azusa “revival.” She received a spiritual renewal at a Friends meeting in 1879. Here is a woman, who received some type of spiritual power from a Quaker meeting. Keep in mind that the Society of Friends, the Quakers, were originally a non-Christian group (although many people unknowingly lump them in with Christian groups).

Maria would go into trances, people came to her while she was in a trance state and allegedly got “saved.” She would lay hands on others and place them in a similar trance-state.

The Ministry of Aimee Semple McPherson

The practice of people being slain was not widespread in Pentecostal circles after Etter’s death. It became more commonplace through the ministry of another woman minister named Aimee Semple McPherson (1890-1944). Sister Aimee was also a traveling evangelist and she too had people fall out under the power in her ministry—

One of these was a Sunday school teacher at the city’s largest Protestant church. After Aimee touched him, he dropped to the floor trembling and speaking in tongues. The next day, the wife of a leading citizen had a similar experience, and scores of people came to the altar for counseling. The day after that, “Three were slain under the power and through speaking in tongues,” Aimee said.

Aimee was very controversial to say the least. She is the Founder of the Foursquare Gospel denomination. She later died of a barbiturate overdose in 1944. To this day charismatic believers ignore the fact that she was a divorcee and most likely faked her own kidnapping in order to spend time in an adulterous liaison in 1926. Yet the power of God is supposed to have flowed mightily through during her life!

The Ministry of Kathryn Kuhlman

The next major figure whose ministry is responsible for making the practice of being slain in the spirit part-and-parcel of charismatic healing and miracles services was Kathryn Kuhlman (1907-1976).

Kathryn committed adultery with a married man, who left his wife and children to marry Kathryn. A few years later Kathryn divorced him and never remarried. She died of heart disease in 1976. I bring these distasteful facets up because it show some of the character of these mighty Pentecostal/Charismatic giants of the faith. I am not saying these people were not saved, nor that they did not sincerely repent of their sins. However, character does matter in ministry.

Apart from the well-documented healings, the most sensational phenomena associated with Kuhlman was “going under the power” (sometimes referred to as “slain in the Spirit”) as people fell when she prayed for them. This sometimes happened to dozens at a time and occasionally hundreds.

Her ministry was international in scope. Well received by many Pentecostal’s and the fledgling charismatic renewal movement of the 1960’s.

I have witnessed Mr. Kenneth Hagin have a long line of people hold hands and he lay hands on the head of the first person and then the entire line fall down. I have personally seen Benny Hinn whirl around and “throw” a wave of anointing in his meetings and multitudes have fallen, as if shot on several occasions. As recently as August 1, 1997 my wife and I were at the Toronto Airport Church and we witnessed multitudes being slain in the spirit as John and Carol Arnott laid hands on people.

The Phenomenon Is Universally Accepted By Charismatic Christians Today

This experience is almost universal to all charismatic’s. If you know any, ask them if they have ever been slain in the spirit and what it was like.

This practice and manifestation is accepted de facto due in large part to the following:

  • The long history behind it, i.e. God has always done this.
  • Their own subjective experience of it, they got “blessed.”
  • They have been taught that the Bible clearly teaches this is a legitimate experience of what takes place when God’s power comes on an individual.

Slain- Carol Arnott

As with holy laughter today’s revivalists strongest case is that of historical precedent. Yet when anyone takes an honest look at the history of this manifestation, they see a historical background of occultism (with the Shakers), aberrant mystics like Maria Woodworth-Etter, and ministers of dubious character such as Aimee McPherson and Kathryn Kuhlman. The historical case is not sufficient, nor will it ever be, to overrule the plain teachings of the Bible.

From an exegetical view point the revivalist have even less support. None of the texts they cite as “proof” for this practice can be legitimately applied. All of the texts have to do with divine encounters which were extremely important to the plan of God either for Israel as a nation or for the Church. It is not enough to locate texts which denote someone falling and then interpret them to refer to being slain in the spirit. All of their comparisons are at best apples-to-apples. None of the writings of the Early Church Fathers indicate any such manifestation as part-and-parcel of normal Christian experience, in fact, they never mention it at all. One would think that these writers would have recorded some evidence of this manifestation in their writings if it was a genuine experience given by the Holy Spirit, especially one that alleges to bestow ministry calls, visions of the Lord, emotional and physical healing. Yet the historic record of the Church for almost 1,700 years is totally silent on this matter.

As I have already stated the history behind this practice is extremely questionable at best. The earliest references we have of it in America come from the Shakers, a non-Christian cult of necromancers. The familiar spirits (demons) told the Shakers at the same time in their various communes that they, the spirits, were leaving the Shakers and going to visit the “world’s people,” and would do so by various manifestations. This did occur and many Christian sects, unsound in doctrine were open to such forms of enthusiasms, and this deception continues to this day. The practice of being slain in the spirit is less than four hundred years old, and has had only marginal acceptance at best in the past. However, this has changed in our time.

Now with rapid growth of neo-Montanism with the Church this practice is now a common, sometimes weekly experience for literally millions of people professing the name of Jesus Christ.

The sheer numbers of people submitting to an experience does not validate it as biblical. Truth is not determined by consensus. Truth is revealed to us by the written Word of God. The Westminster Confession of Faith states what the Christian’s relationship to the Bible ought to be:

IV. The authority of the Holy Scripture, for which it ought to be believed, and obeyed depends not upon the testimony of any man, or Church; but wholly upon God (who is truth itself) the author thereof: and therefore it is to be received, because it is the Word of God.

VI. The whole counsel of God concerning all things necessary for His own glory, man’s salvation, faith and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture: unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelations of the Spirit, or traditions of men. Nevertheless, we acknowledge the inward illumination of the Spirit of God to be necessary for the saving understanding of such things as are revealed in the Word:

God’s Word along is the standard by which we live. His Word contains all things necessary for salvation, faith and life. These things are expressly set down in the Bible, or “by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture.” This deduction however is not accomplished by violating the principles of hermeneutics and wresting the texts from their context in order to attempt to make them fit one’s experience.

This is exactly what today’s revivalists have done regarding being slain in the spirit. This experience is not mentioned once contextually in the entire Bible. Every text the revivalists site as proof of their non-biblical practice has been taken from it context and misapplied.

The revivalists have failed both historically and biblically to make their case that this manifestation is the result of the Holy Spirit or the glory of God coming upon an individual to such a degree their physical bodies cannot withstand it. And thus fall to the ground in some form of a trance-like condition. With this in mind we must seek other explanations.

Learned Behavior

There is an undeniable element of learned behavior with this phenomena. A minister gets up and preaches, towards the end of the message he or she will begin to make allusions to what people may see or experience while being prayed for. Often some of the texts we have considered will be sited to validate what the congregation will see or personally experience. The catchers are called forward and then an alter call is given. The first people are lined up with catchers behind them. Hands are laid on the people and some of them begin to fall into the arms of the catchers. The other people are observing this behavior. When their turn comes, they too fall down.

This is the basic pattern of ministry I have personally observed for over fifteen years, it was the pattern I also used while in full-time charismatic ministry. Although not done consciously, I and other ministers, were setting the state by psychologically preparing the people in advance. On the part of the people, they wanted to get blessed, they wanted a stronger “anointing” or deeper walk with Christ. Seeing others fall, they too fell. Many times I knew as a minister that people were simply “faking it.” How? When people came up for prayer I would notice them quickly look behind them to make sure there was a catcher there to “catch” them when they fell. These fakers, came knowing in advance that they were going to fall, and they wanted assurance they would be caught. 

(TO BE COMPLETED NEXT MONTH!)

Copyright 2009 Robert S. Liichow

* Color-highlight and some bolding are not in the original book by Robert S. Liichow.

 

 

 

 

 

 





Does the Bible Support A Doctrine of Being Slain in the Spirit? Part I

18 03 2010
Truth Matters Newsletters – October 2009 – Vol. 14 Issue 9 – Does the Bible Support A Doctrine of Being Slain in the Spirit? – by Rev. Bob Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

Does the Bible Support A Doctrine of Being Slain in the Spirit?

Part 1 of 3

By Rev. Robert S. Liichow

Sorry for the delay, but I am seeking to give back to our readers and supporters for their faithful support. So for the next few issues I will be reprinting some of our books in the newsletters, i.e. keep the next couple of newsletters and you will end up with one of our books to share or give to others! I am starting with some of the fundamental “doctrines” of modern neo-Montanism, aka the charismatic movement of today. This first installment deals with the dogma of being slain in the spirit. It is a phenomena common to virtually all sign-gift believers and thus this information is of vital importance in your reference libraries. Please share this information with your friends and family!

Introduction

This booklet will set forth the charismatic attempt to prove Biblically that the manifestation of being “slain in the spirit” is in fact Scriptural. However, it will become evident to the reader that what they have done is to twist the Scripture, wrest it from its context, in a vain attempt to validate the emergence of fleshly and demonic activity in their midst.

To those who have not ever been to a charismatic service the terminology may be unfamiliar so I will begin by defining the terms. Then we will examine their apologetic, the historical background of this manifestation, and consider what the Bible actually teaches regarding the issue at hand.

Chapter 1

Being “Slain in the spirit”  The Phenomena Defined

Being slain in the spirit denotes the phenomena that occurs when hands are laid on an individual and they swoon or fall to the ground in an altered state of consciousness. One can be slain without hands being physically applied, but that is more the exception than the rule. Generally people “fall out” due to direct ministry of another, either individually or in a group. The Dictionary of Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements defines the experience this way:

A relatively modern expression denoting a religious phenomenon in which an individual falls down; the cause of this is attributed to the Holy Spirit. The phenomenon is known within modern Pentecostalism and charismatic renewal under various names including “falling under the power,” “overcome by the Spirit,” and “resting in the Spirit.” Within the discipline of the sociology of religion “slain in the spirit” might fall under the general rubric of possession trance.”   (1)

As a former charismatic pastor and teacher I can personally testify that in the course of ministry my wife and I have laid hands on over 1,000 people for various reasons. Many times when praying for people’s physical healing we would lay hands on them and they would fall down on the ground for a period of time and then regain their senses, stand up and return to their seats.

I can further testify when many times when people fall it is due to a genuine power entering into them or at least affecting their body to the degree they cannot stand. I have fallen down many times and I was not “faking” it. I felt a power, a tingling, something akin to electricity flow into me and upon yielding to this power I would fall down.

How is this explained?  There are a variety of ways to explain this manifestation. We will examine these possible answers towards the end of this book. I believe it is only fair to allow our sign-gift brethren to give their explanation first.

Chapter 2

TACF’S Apologetic

The Toronto Airport Church Explanation

The Toronto Airport Church Fellowship (TACF) says this occurs when God’s presence comes on the human body. The body simply cannot stand the weight of God’s presence and thus fall.    (2)

Falls are commonly much less violent and may be backward (common) or forward (less common and in my observation more frequent in pastors and ministers). Falls may be associated with further violent movements, with head-banging, tremors, movements suggestive of epilepsy, but commonly with a total absence of movement. Subject may have no experience beyond a pleasant sense of calm, may experience visions, or may feel they are being crushed. One man told me he felt as though a massive weight was crushing the life out of him, making it impossible for him to breath…Many people may be affected simultaneously. When this is so, the precise timing suggest supernatural choreography rather than mass hysteria.    (3)

Toronto’s answer is that when a person is slain in the spirit it is simply a physical response to the power of the Holy Spirit coming upon the individual. What does the Pensacola vortex of revival have to say about this matter?

There are several incidents in the Bible which demonstrate that the immediate presence of God is more than the human body can physically stand. One of the most significant examples is John 18:4-6, where we read of Jesus’ arrest. When Jesus identified Himself to the soldiers who were arresting Him, we’re told they “drew back and fell to the ground.” These troops (who were pagan unbelievers and only view Jesus as another criminal to arrest) were involuntarily smitten by His moment unleashing of His inherent power as God. Even these ungodly men could not physically stand up in the presence of His holiness and glory. (4)

Again, we read of the “fact” that the human body just cannot stand the presence of God and so human bodies fall down. Let me ask two questions:   (1). if this is true then why don’t those laying hands on people fall too? If God’s presence is manifest why doesn’t everybody fall? (2). In the account in John, Jesus, the completely unique One, did unveil His glory by stating “I am.” The sinners did fall down backwards (keep this fact in mind for later on). However, the account does not say the believers fell down, it is remarkably silent about anyone else being slain in the spirit.

The Toronto Blessing FAQ (5)

Revised April 1997

Scriptures quoted from King James Version unless otherwise stated

FALLING IN THE HOLY SPIRIT – this is when we fall to the ground because we can no longer remain standing when the power of God is on us!!! Sometimes we remain on the ground from several minutes up to several hours, our body simply cannot move very much because our flesh is corrupt and cannot stand in God’s full presence!!

II CHRONICLES 5:11-14: And it came to pass, when the priests were come out of the holy [place]: (for all the priests [that were] present were sanctified, [and] did not [then] wait by course: Also the Levites [which were] the singers, all of them of Asaph, of Herman, of Jeduthun, with their sons and their brethren, [being] arrayed in white linen, having cymbals and psalteries and harps, stood at the east end of the altar, and with them an hundred and twenty priests sounding with trumpets) It came even to pass, as the trumpeters and singers [were] as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the LORD; and when they lifted up [their] voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of music, and praised the LORD, [saying], For [he is] good; for his mercy [endureth] for ever: that [then] the house was filled with a cloud, [even] the house of the LORD; So that the priests could not stand to minister by reason of the cloud: for the glory of the LORD had filled the house of God.

MATTHEW 17:5-7: While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him. And when the disciples heard [it], they fell on their face, and were sore afraid. And Jesus came and touched them and said, Arise, and be not afraid.

JOHN 18:5-6 They answered him, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus said unto them, I am [he]. And Judas also, which betrayed him, stood with them. As soon then as he had said unto them, I am [he], they went backward, and fell to the ground.

ACTS 9:3-4: And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutes thou me?

 

A Biblical Examination of the Revivalists Argument

To begin with whenever you make comparisons for them to be honest correlations you must compare “apples to apples.” None of these texts resemble anything remotely close to what happens when believers are slain in the spirit today. My wife and I have observed less then 10 people fall under the power with no human intervention of some variety in 30 years of combined charismatic experience. When people get slain it is due to the direct ministry of another person, not a sovereign act of God.

Invariably, charismatic people fall down when hands are laid on them. There are no examples of people falling down when hands were laid on them in the Bible.

In 2 Chronicles 5:11 we read of the dedication of Solomon’s temple. In that dispensation God manifested His presence in a tangible manner to His covenant people Israel.

This case was no exception, God manifested His presence to demonstrate His approval of the Temple. After that initial service, His presence was confined to residing above the ark of the covenant.

Note also that the priests were outside of the temple when God’s glory filled it. There is nothing stated which indicates that the priest fell down at all.

Matthew 17 gives us the incident where Jesus took Peter, John and James up to the mountain top where He was transfigured before them. There is nothing in the text which indicates that God slayed them in the spirit. The text states “they fell on their face, sore afraid” it does not saythe presence of God was so strong they could not stand,” nor does it say, “the power of the Holy Spirit knocked them on their faces.” It says “They fell,” Peter, John, and James chose to fall.  Why?  They were afraid! It was a voluntary act on their part, not a sovereign act of God upon their bodies. Please note also, that at no time were they unaware of their surroundings, i.e. they did not loose consciousness, which is common with today’s manifestation.

Also, in Mark and Luke’s account we read of Peter seeing Moses, Elijah and Jesus and then Peter speaking with Jesus. These two accounts do not even mention them falling down at all. It does mention them being afraid, but no falling. It is textually impossible to validate what happens in charismatic services today from Matthews account.

The last text they use to shore up their doctrine is the account of Paul encountering the Lord on the road to Damascus. What is interesting in the Acts 9 account is that only Paul is slain, i.e. falls off of his horse. The men with Paul, were (1) speechless, (2) heard a voice, (3) saw no one, and (4) did not fall down. Another facet of this account is the fact that this extraordinary manifestation is Paul’s call into apostleship. This text cannot legitimately be used to prove the machinations taking place in charismatic circles. No one laid hands on Paul and caused him to be slain. According to the Biblical record this was not a regular occurrence in his life or ministry. Paul himself never testifies to laying hands on anyone and having them slain in the spirit, nor do any of the other writers of the New Testament, or Old Testament for that matter. Paul never lost consciousness, his faculties were very sharp, he was able to speak, he rationally answered the Lord.

On the following page John White uses the following two verses in his book When The Spirit Comes With Power to justify falling down under the Holy Spirit’s power:

Daniel 10:9-10 But the sound of his words came to my ears, and on hearing his voice I went into a deep sleep with my face to the earth. Then a hand gave me a touch, awaking me, and putting me on my knees and my hands.

Rev. 1:17 – And when I saw him, I went down on my face at his feet as one dead. And he put his right hand on me, saying, Have no fear; I am the first and the last and the Living one;

In the event in Daniel chapter 10, we encounter the writing prophet at the banks of the Tigris. He alone sees the angelic being who has come to deliver to Daniel a sweeping revelation concerning the prophetic economy of God. This Old Testament account is totally devoid of any comparison of what takes place in Pentecostalism. First, Daniel was a writing prophet and as such the Lord manifested His Word to those prophets in various ways (dreams, visions, divine appearances, etc). Secondly, Daniel’s experience was unexpected, whereas today people fully expect to be slain in the spirit. The purpose of the angelic appearance was to reveal a significant prophetic word to God’s prophet, Daniel’s falling down had nothing to do with the divine message, it was at best a tangential response on Daniel’s part.

Next, while Daniel was overcome the angel touched him and gave him strength. This is something we do not see in today’s services. I have seen multitudes fall, but none receiving supernatural strength. Note also that Daniel fell face forward, almost one hundred percent of charismatic’s who are slain fall backward, thus the reason for catchers (more on the ministry of catchers in a later chapter).

There simply is no legitimate manner in which this verse can be used to shore up a doctrine of being slain in the spirit.

The text in Revelation 1:17 also fails to meet the test when examined. John the beloved was an apostle of the Lamb. Fist of all, there are no more apostles today. Secondly, John saw the resurrected Lord which was the reason he fell. The purpose for the Lord Jesus appearing to John was to give him the final installment of the canon of Scripture. John was given a revelation of immense importance. Please note that John never lost consciousness and that he also fell face forward.

Comparison Chart

The falling of people in today’s services, especially in this latest revival has no relationship whatsoever to the few Biblical accounts they attempt to use to prove their beliefs. Every text they have tried to use is taken completely out of its context and these leaders are guilty of wresting the Scriptures in a vain attempt to validate their practices.

The leaders of the Holy Laughter movement prove nothing by the Scriptures they use except that they do not know how to properly interpret the Scriptures. They are attempting to compare apples-to-oranges and not apples-to-apples. The simple fact of the matter is that they have no biblical context to prove what is happening is in fact the manner in which God moves by His Spirit. Try as they might the best they can do is to twist the Scriptures in an attempt to make “a round peg fit into a square hole.” The Biblical accounts and what transpires today simply do not compare with one another.

Pastor John Arnott said the following during a revival meeting we attended at TACF (paraphrased) regarding people laying on the floor (after being slain in the spirit) who were screaming aloud:

1. The Holy Spirit could be expelling demons from the person, so we say “more Lord.”

2. The Holy Spirit is bringing back past painful memories to heal them, and the person is screaming out in agony, so we say “more Lord.”

3. The Holy Spirit is blessing the individual so tremendously they are screaming out under His power, we don’t want to stop that do we?

4. The person is simply faking it to fit in.

5. The Holy Spirit is doing a prophetic work in the person’s life & we do not want to interfere with that do we? (6)

The only problem with John’s definitions was that he used absolutely no Scriptures to validate any of his five points. In fact he contradicted himself on the video when he said that upon asking people what was happening to them while on the floor the people responded “we don’t now, but we know the Lord was doing something.” If individuals who have been slain in the spirit did not know what was taking place how in the world does John Arnott?

The following apologetic for being slain in the spirit is taken from the following web page on August 25, 1997: http://www.revivaltimes.com/manifest.htm– they use the same proof texts as TACF and other extremists, this shows the paucity of their argument.

Falling

People are skeptical when they see a person falling on the floor. This is really not hard to understand, as so many have been pushed over. Hands were laid so hard on them, that they either had to walk back or fall over. Others have come to think that unless you fall down, you have not received. This is not true. The Holy Spirit can minister to you anywhere, and in any way He pleases. I purposely lay my hand very lightly on peoples heads. If they fall, they will know that I did not push them over. It had to be the Holy Spirit or themselves.

Why do people fall?

Well, evidently they found it was impossible to stand up any longer. They just felt their knees become weak and fell down. Sometimes the glory of God is so great that we are overwhelmed and consequently fall prostate before the Lord.

Is Falling in the Spirit scriptural?

There is no direct reference to what we have termed being slain in the Spirit; However, there are references in the Bible of people who could not stand for the glory of God

1 King 8:10 And it came to pass, when the priests were come out of the holy place, that the cloud filled the house of the LORD, So that the priests could not stand to minister because of the cloud: for the glory of the LORD had filled the house of the LORD.

Another indication of falling in the Spirit is when Saul of Tarsus had the encounter with God on the road to Damascus. When the light shone on him, he fell to the ground and lay there until God had finished talking to him.

Acts 9:3-4 And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutes thou me?

The author gets an “A” for honesty, he admitted there are no direct references to the man-made doctrine of being slain in the spirit. What is puzzling is that he (and multitudes) of others are willing to submit themselves to highly questionable practices which have no Scriptural basis and attribute them to God. They have no Scriptural method by which to judge the origin of their experience, and assume it must be the Holy Spirit.  On what basis?  Because it happens in a church service? Because a minister lays their hands on them? Because they have seen others do it? Or because they have been told this is of God by leaders? These are not the criteria by which we judge our spiritual lives and practice. We are to look to the Word of God alone as the first and final court of appeal.

Revival Glory’s Explanation of the Experience (7)

In revival people often fall on the floor. Termed “slain in the Spirit” by some, and “falling under the power” or resting in the Lord” by others, one does not have to look long to see that something is happening inside those “horizontal before the Lord.” Such was the response of people like Ezekiel (Ezekiel 1:28; 3:23), Daniel (Daniel 10:9), and John (Revelation 1:17). After the ark was brought into Solomon’s temple, “the priests could not stand to minister by reason of the cloud: for the glory of the Lord had filed the house of God” (2 Chronicles 5:14), perhaps indicating that these priests had “fallen under the power” of God. The Holy Spirit seems to do a wide variety of things in a person’s life during this time: a renewed understanding of God’s holiness, an inward healing of emotions, anointing for ministry, a giving of direction for life, a refreshing of God’s love, and in limited cases, the giving of a vision from God. [Bold type and underlining added for emphasis].

Revival Glory’s definition adds that the Holy Spirit seems to do a wide variety of spiritual works in the slain person’s life. Six things are cited, but not one verse is given to substantiate these claims. Five of the works attributed to being slain in the spirit are found within the context of scripture apart from any paranormal experience. All six, minus the vision from God, come to any believer through a reverent study of God’s Word, no more no less! To the extremist simple Bible study is not as “sexy” as having a power encounter or becoming the center of attention by laying front of the congregation in some form of enthusiasm and/or alleged spiritual rapture.

A person “overcome” by something, but it is not the Holy Spirit!

Rev. Liichow’s book  will be continued in the next issue.

Copyright © 2009  Robert S. Liichow

* (color highlight, some bolding and underlining are added for emphasis, and do not appear in the original book by Robert S. Liichow)

 





Worship Abuses & The Tabernacle of David

4 03 2010
Truth Matters Newsletters – July 2009 – Vol. 14 Issue 7 – Worship Abuses & The Tabernacle of David – by Rev. Bob Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

WORSHIP ABUSES & THE TABERNACLE OF DAVID

By Rev. Robert S. Liichow

Some of you may be thinking that I am being fickle by calling for tolerance regarding worship styles in the fist article and now decrying worship “abuses” in this article. As you read on you will se that I am consistent.

In the prior article the question revolves around whether or not someone is engaged in a biblical form of worship. If it is, even though it may not be our preferred manner of expression, we should not decry what others are doing. However, if what is being done under the guise of “worship” violates the biblical precedent than it must be rebuked and considered a false practice.

Regardless of style all praise and worship is directed solely to God. It is not meant to entertain the congregation nor is it meant to uplift the individual’s soul per se. Let me quickly state that as a result of genuine worship to God our souls are uplifted, but that is the result and not the purpose.

Error #1 – Praise creates a place for God to dwell

Psalm 22:3 “Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One; you are the praise of Israel.”

The KJV reads that “O Thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel” and charismatic extremists take that to mean that God actually inhabits our praise and worship. “If you study out the Hebrew words in Psl. 22:3 you understand that it says that praise creates a place for God to come and sit as a judge.” (1)

This explains why such an emphasis is placed on praise and worship expression in charismatic meetings. They believe that what they are doing is actually creating an actual location in the spiritual realm for Almighty God to dwell. Once this place has been created (you know it has occurred by the various subjective experiences of the leaders during this time) then things can really begin to happen!

As prayer, praise and worship create a place for God to dwell a number of things occur. First, the word of the Lord is easier to be heard and answers arrive quicker (Dan. 10). The prophets or those standing prayer watch will hear the strategies of the enemy like Elisha did in 2 Kings 6. The leaders will also take the spiritual intelligence before the Lord like King Hezekiah did in order to determine what they should do (Isa. 37). Second there is power that can be projected (Psl. 149:2). (2)

Here is how I would dialog with the author of this quote (I can easily play both sides, having been on both of them).

First question: How does one know when the temporary spiritual home for God has been created?

Answer: The leaders will know by subjectively discerning a change in the spiritual atmosphere in the meeting. This change is interpreted as the presence of the Lord.

Second question: Didn’t Daniel fast and pray for three weeks before the angel came to him and explained why he had to wait so long?

Answer: Yes, but that was Daniel, our praise dispels the enemy and thus under an “open heaven” we can clearly and easily receive the word of the Lord.

Third question: I thought the Bible was the complete and infallible “word of the Lord,” which word are you looking for apart from the Holy Bible?

Answer: We absolutely believe that the Bible is the Word of God, yet we also know that God is still revealing present day truth (2 Peter 1:12) and we must feed off today’s manna and not yesterdays.

Fourth question: Didn’t the O.T. prophet actually listen in on what Israel’s human enemies were planning and not demonic spirits? Wasn’t this done to prove to Israel’s enemies that there was indeed a “god” the Living God in Israel whom they should fear? Lastly, what strategies of Satan have any of you uncovered thus far? What spiritual, economic; societal or political plots have been foiled by your people during praise and worship?

Answer: Well a good many things have been accomplished and the works of the enemy bound up by our praise and worship!

Follow-up question: Name one!

Answer: Oh, you’ve got a pharisaical spirit and whatever I say you will dispute, let us move on.

Question: You state that power can be “projected” via praise and worship and you cite Psalm 149 as your proof of this. I have read the entire Psalm and it does tell us to praise the Lord with dance and make music with various instruments (vs.3), all well and good. But nowhere do I find the Church projecting power (your words) in the Psalm.

Answer: You miss the obvious; it is found in vs. 6&7 where we are to have the high praises of God in our mouths and the two-edged sword in our hands to inflict vengeance on the heathen. Via our high praises of God we are waging spiritual warfare against principalities, powers, dominions and the rulers of darkness (Eph. 6:12). While we praise and worship God we are binding up the demons and loosing the angels of God to carry out His divine justice in the world.

Follow-up question: When did praise and worship turn into a form of spiritual warfare? Praise has always been directed to God alone and never against Satan or demons throughout the entire Bible.

Answer: Obviously you are stuck with the letter of the law and not the spirit because it is apparent that you are not filled with the Holy Spirit. If you were you would plainly see that this text proves that God uses our praise and worship to judge His enemies End of discussion.

I give the charismatic movement high marks in their restoration of ancient praise and worship formats. Unfortunately, they take this good thing too far and twist it into something it was never meant to be.

They have made praise and worship a means to an end. Instead of simply being the emotive expression of love-filled hearts towards their God they have turned it into a mechanism by which all sorts of mystical transactions are alleged to occur. We do not praise our Lord in order to hear some “new” revelation from Him, we adore Him because He is our God and we are His people. Nor do we praise Him in order to discover what Satan and his demonic forces are up to. There is absolutely no biblical support for viewing praise and worship in that light. Lastly, while one might feel empowered after taking time to genuinely worship the Lord thee is nothing in scripture that says the very act of praising God releases or projects some form of spiritual power.

Error #2   Prophetic Praise?

All of the charismatic extremists teach that there is such a thing as prophetic praise.

Through prophetic praise God speaks or sings changes that manifest to the earth in the form of restoration for His people and defeat for the enemy. Through prophecy in song people are healed, delivered and given direction as individuals. God also sings prophecy to the church body as direction, comfort, rebuke, warning etc. (3).

The belief that music is prophetic is tied into the belief that God has (and is) restoring apostles and prophets back to the Church. If one accepts the premise that God has placed prophets and apostles in our midst to guide us to perfection it is only a small step to believe that God speaks prophetically through praise and worship led by these restored leaders. Books have been written and conferences given around the world to help train-up people to release their prophetic gift and if such a person either sings or plays an instrument then they are encouraged to “prophesy” via their singing or playing!

There are greater governing sounds, and songs, coming from the Church: music that carries the glory of God, rending opens the heavens, music that breaks strongholds over churches, cities, and nations—this is the power of Apostolic music. (4)

The music the writer is speaking about is the music used for praise and worship not some other form or setting of music. Note how the focus has shifted from the simple heartfelt adoration of our God to something else completely. “Music that carries the glory of God.” there’s no such music in the Bible. “Music that rends open te heavens”. I did not know the heavens were closed! There is no such intimation of a “closed heaven” in the entire New Testament. We have full access to the throne of God 24/7 through Jesus Christ. Sad to say the congregations that my wife and I were a part while we were extremists did not experience the breaking of “strongholds” over those churches. Truthfully the warfare congregations of Detroit have all experienced breakdowns and church splits not breakthroughs. Detroit is in the worst shape it has ever been in economically, socially, educationally, , health-wise and on just about every level…where is the apostolic breakthrough that has been being prophetically sung for years into the heavenlies above Detroit by restored prophetic psalmists? Like the old lady in the Wendy’s commercial I feel like shouting “WHERE’S THE BEEF?” People can make all manner of claims and declarations but the FACT remains — what they are teaching and practicing is not coming to pass in any way shape or form.

The idea that through praising God evil spirits are sent running is not a biblical teaching at all. One can see such practices on the Discovery channel where they do documentaries on pagan societies in the Amazon or Africa. Pagans have always used their music and dance as a means to drive out evil spirits and invite their gods to bless them. Unfortunately this raw form of paganism has crept into the many charismatic extremist groups because they use praise and worship to achieve these same ends. Not only are songs and music used as vehicles to discombobulate the Devil but they also claim that singing and music can heal the sick! If this were so, then the health rate among charismatic’s would be extremely high and Benny Hinn’s miracle crusade attendance very low (since mostly charismatic believers healed via “anointed” music. I have met many people who Jesus has healed, but not through music. There is not one example of anyone being healed by music in the New Testament.

Error # 3   Prophetic Praise Dancing

In the previous article we saw that it is possible to dance before the Lord as a legitimate form of worship. I have seen some very artistic interpretative dancing to worship songs, but since I am watching and not dancing it does not bring me closer to my Lord in a worship sense, but maybe that is just me.

Even though dancing before the Lord may at times be a genuine expression of praise it too has been pulled out of its setting and made to be “prophetic” by the extremists. There are a multitude of web sites dedicated to so-called prophetic dancing, all touting the prophetic significant and benefit of dancing. (5) Some of these dancing prophets declare that “He [Jesus] wants to express himself in us through the dance.” (6)

Not only is dancing taken on prophetic significance among these people, like the pagans dance is now a means of intercession.

“As intercessors, we must be willing to bear in our bodies that which the Lord is trying to release.” (7)

There are specific dances for intercession, specific dances for healing and for warfare. This paganism run amok in these congregations, utter foolishness! Dancing before the Lord in worship can be a beautiful expression of joy between the worshipper and God. Yet now it has been abused and has been hijacked out of its pure setting and changed into something that it was never meant to be.

In closing let me reiterate that personally I am all for the various biblical forms of expressing our praise and worship to God. I have experienced every thing from the solemnity of singing the ancient hymns to the enthusiastic dancing and shouting of wild Pentecostalism and “experienced” the presence of God in it all. However when you take anything biblical out its context and make it into something it was never meant to be then it becomes carnal and misleading.

The charismatic extremists have done this to worship. They have taken something good and made it aberrant and thus turned it into something God will not honor. The entire Tabernacle of David 24/7 prayer, praise and worship is nothing more than excited ignorance and is an attempt to make God ‘move” because of their enthusiasm. God is sovereign and His will cannot be thwarted nor His timetable changed by human activity. It is enough of a supreme privilege for me to be allowed to know and worship the True God. I rejoice in the liberty I have in Christ but I do not abuse that liberty and turn it into license.

Copyright  © 2009  Robert S. Liichow

End Notes

1. Obtained from http://www.watchmanministries.org/tabernacle_of_david.html on July 2, 2009

2. Ibid.

3. http://www.trumpetoftruth.com/lect_files/what%20is%prophetic%20praise.html on 07-02-09

4. www.awesomecitymusic.com a quote from their book The Power of Apostolic Music by Stephen Bennett.

5. Some of these sites include http://www.dancingforhim.com; http://www.thefoolishthings.homestead.com

6. Ibid. the foolish things.homestead.com

7. Ibid





Harp & Bowl “Ministry”

1 03 2010
Truth Matters Newsletters – June 2009 – Vol. 14 Issue 6 – Harp & Bowl Ministry – by Rev. Bob Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

Harp & Bowl “Ministry”

(AKA the Restoration of the Tabernacle of David)

By Rev. Robert S. Liichow

Before being delivered from the doctrinal morass of today’s charismatic movement Tracy and I began to see some of the fledgling steps being made towards what is called today “Harp and Bowl” ministry. What we originally heard being bandied about by various leaders in the “prophetic” movement was the belief in the need to restore the Tabernacle of David in order to facilitate revival and even the return of Christ.

The Tabernacle of David

Non-charismatic, i.e. low-wattage Christians (such a yourselves) no doubt have less than no understanding of what the Tabernacle of David consists of. You probably are more familiar with the Tabernacle of Moses, the Temple of Solomon or the Temple King Herod built. Allow me to enlighten you regarding this interesting, yet often overlooked facet of Biblical history.

About 1,000 B.C. King David commanded that the Ark of the Covenant be brought up to Mount Zion in the midst of Jerusalem. It was carried up upon the shoulders of the Levites with songs and musical instruments. David placed the Ark inside of a tent and appointed 288 singers and 4,000 musicians to minister before the Lord and make petition to the Lord “day and night,” which means 24/7 praise, prayer and worship (see 1 Chron. 15:1-17-27). This was something new and unique in the worship history of Israel. In today’s parlance one could say King David “went contemporary” as opposed to the format used by Moses.

Once Solomon came on the scene and built the temple and the actual Tabernacle of David was superseded by a permanent structure the order of Davidic worship did not change (see 2 Chron. 8:14-15). In fact, the Bible makes known that five (5) subsequent kings who came after David and reintroduced his Davidic worship format experienced breakthrough, deliverance and military victories.

1) King Solomon (2 Chron. 8:14,15), we al know how greatly blessed by God Solomon was.

2) King Jehoshaphat set up singers according to the Davidic order singing the Great Hallel and he reinstated Davidic worship in the temple (2 Chron. 20:20,22,28).

3) king Joash reinstated it too (2 Chron. 23: 1-24,27).

4) King Hezekiah followed suit (2 Chron. 29:1-36, 30:21)

5) King Josiah also was a Davidic worshipper (2 Chron. 35:1-27)

6) Ezra, not a “king” but a very influential prophetic voice (Ezra 3:10).

7) Nehemiah, another prophet (Neh. 12:28-47)

Being the discerning person you have learned to become you immediately say “very interesting Bob, but what does this have to do with the Church?” Thank you for asking, because the Tabernacle of David (TOD) does appear in the New Testament. In order to understand the N.T. reference we need first to read the prophet Amos words concerning the TOD:

In that day I will restore David’s fallen tent (tabernacle). I will repair its broken places, restore its ruins, and build it as it used to be, so that they may possess the remnant of Edom and all the nations that bear my name,” declares the LORD, who will do these things. “The days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when the reaper will be overtaken by the plowman and the planter by the one treading grapes. New wine will drip from the mountains and flow from all the hills. Amos 9:11-13  (underlining added).

Obviously from the text God is going to restore the TOD and He is going to build it as it used to be. Attached to this restoration is an ingathering of the nations and great prosperity (occasioned by new wine) for God’s people. If God is going to restore the TOD, when is that going to occur? According to our sign-gift brethren it was initially fulfilled in the Book of Acts when the Apostle James stood up in the midst and uttered the following words:

When they finished, James spoke up: “Brothers, listen to me. Simon has described to us how God at first showed his concern by taking from the Gentiles a people for himself. The word of the prophets are in agreement with this, as it is written: “after this I will return and rebuild David’s fallen tent. Its ruins I will rebuild, and I will restore it, that the remnant of men may seek the Lord, and all the Gentiles who bear my name, says the Lord, who does these things;’ that have been known for ages. Acts 15:13-18   (underlining added)

Before parsing James comments let’s continue with charismaticthink regarding the text. Obviously God is going to restore the TOD and that restoration began with the early Church. They go as far to teach that the TOD format of worship is in fact the model of true New Testament worship. Ergo, it is only logical to assume that the early Church practiced Davidic worship in their gatherings. The Apostle Paul encouraged worshipping with the Psalms (see Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16) and we know most of the Psalms were penned by David after he established the TOD. The author of Hebrews tells us to offer the sacrifice of praise (Heb. 13:5) and at the TOD no animal sacrifices were made (according to our sign-gift brethren). Leaving the scant Biblical record our brothers’ state that Davidic worship has been a part of the great “revivals” in Church history.

Regarding 24/7 prayer and praise one of the founding neo-prophetic voices, Mike Bickle goes as far as to cite early Church history to prove the validity of establishing 24/7 centers of nothing but praise and worship around the world. Bickle cites many monastic examples of perpetual prayer and praise in various Roman Catholic sects. Bickle fails to mention all of the problems associated with monasticism. His next example is Count Zinzendorf who came to faith through one of the founders of Lutheran pietism, Phillipp Spener. According to Bickle Count Zinzendorf and later the Moravian believers were great champions of 24/7 prayer. He tries to tie John Wesley with Zinzendorf to edge his timeline a little closer to today, however his attempt is in vain. There is no evidence that either Charles or John Wesley ever practiced or endorsed 24/7 prayer as a means of “moving the hand of God.” So from the early 1700’s until around 1973 the practice of “Davidic worship” seems to have been silenced.

Along in the early 70’s comes one of the first Asian charismatic superstars, Paul Cho from South Korea. Due to what has happened to the Church under communism in North Korea Cho knew the value of having small “cell groups” as sort of mini congregations. These would join up with the mother church to worship. [As an aside, if your church has small groups, home groups, cell groups, etc. they all have their origin in Paul Cho’s original teachings, not necessarily a bad thing, just a historical factoid].

Cho also strongly believed that prayer can move God or somehow release God to move in the world. He eventually purchased property on what became known around the world as “Prayer Mountain.” It is a small mountain filled with small cells in which people would go and shut themselves “in with God” for protracted periods of time. It is important to know that Paul Cho is an adherent and teacher of Word of Faith heresies. He attributes his success due to positive confession which is synonymous with prayer to WOF cultists. What success? Cho is the pastor of the largest congregation in the world, his church in Seoul has over 780,000 members.

Mike Bickle was influenced by Cho and being a charismatic extremist felt that he needed to be sure that the fire on the altar (prayer) never goes out. So starting on Sept. 19, 1997 Bickle opened up the International House of Prayer  (IHOP) in Kansas City, Mo. Since that day 24/7 prayer and praise has gone forth. With the epiphany of IHOP now other leaders have jumped on board and we are seeing 24/7 centers of prayer and praise being set up on every continent of the earth (according to Bickle).

Harp and Bowl Prayer

 

This is today’s term and now that Bickle and his restored prophets have had a little over ten years to search out proof-texts to attempt to validate their practice we end up with another “movement” under the ever-expanding charismatic umbrella. The title “harp and bowl” comes from the following text in the book of the Revelation:

And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. Rev. 5:8

Isn’t it obvious from this one text that the harp represents musical worship and the bowls represent intercessory prayers, ergo harp and bowl ministry is a combination of intercessory prayer and musical praise/worship to God. Since the church on earth is patterned after the heavenly tabernacle (read Hebrews to see if this is so) then this is really how church is to be conducted on earth!

Not only does intercessory prayer have a powerful effect on a community, but so does the praise and worship of God. The Kingdom is brought down to earth as God’s people worship Him in a community, and a form of spiritual warfare takes place in praise…Music is closely related with prophetic ministry. Spirit-led and prophetic edged prayer is a goal of the Harp and Bowl model.

The above quotation pretty much sums up the theology behind the 24/7 movement. First of all it is based on the belief that prayer causes change to come to communities. Let’s consider this claim, is this really the case? As an example; for over thirty years Cho has had millions of people coming to Prayer Mountain and are things getting better between North & South Korea? Is North Korea closer to being converted to Christianity; are they even open now to the Gospel? The answer is no in every regard. North Korea has become increasingly dangerous to the stability of the region and the world. It is in no way open to evangelism. Evidently the millions of hours of prayer have not changed anything for the better. IHOP has been continually praying for over ten years and now other 24/7 groups have mushroomed around our nation. Is America better off today than it was ten years ago? We have Obama as President, G.M. and Chrysler bankrupt along with many smaller parts companies and car dealers (I know, I live in Detroit and I feel the negative impact daily). Our health car system is in danger of being nationalized like that of England; Social Security is almost bankrupt as well. Is immorality on the decline; is crime, how about homosexuality and abortion? I see no positive changes in any of these areas that can in any way be attributed to charismatic folks yammering away 24/7.

Next these devotees go on to say that praise brings the “Kingdom of God down” and impacts a community. Sorry friends, where the Church is there is the Kingdom. The Kingdom of God is here now, not in its final and fullest expression but it is a reality now in each of our lives. There is nothing “mechanical” we can do to make God manifest Himself (which is what they mean by bringing down the kingdom, they mean experiencing some form of emotional experience). There are plenty of things we can do to have emotional experiences such as speaking in other tongues for hours or singing mind-numbing refrains for hours, dancing around, chanting these practices can and do alter people’s consciousness. However, what our sign-gift brethren do is that they attribute these emotional experiences to: the presence of God; the anointing; the manifestation of the kingdom of heaven, etc. As with their prayer, their praises have not changed a thing either.

The claim is also made that both prayer and praise is a form of spiritual warfare. This is no new claim. The so-called prophetic movement has long codified prayer and praise as tools by which we are to wage spiritual warfare. There are entire teaching series and conferences on what is called “Strategic Level Spiritual Warfare, led by Dr. Peter Wagner, Cindy Jacobs, Bickle and others.

These extremists actually go to different historical site around the world in order to “bind” up the principalities, powers and rulers of darkness (see Eph. 6:11,12) and then “loose” God’s angels, the Holy Spirit, the Kingdom to manifest and bring revival and salvation. Naturally the first thing one has to do on these over seas junkets is to discern what exact principality or power is in control of an area. Once this Gnostic insight is revealed via prayer & praise then the spiritual warriors can specifically pray against them and command them in Jesus’ name to come down from their high places and/or bind their operation from hindering the Gospel. Once the binding has taken place then these intrepid warriors can lose the power of God to bring revival and redemption!

The only problem with this practice is simply this — we are never told to do any such thing in the Bible.  This is a novel invention that looks very spiritually and deeply powerful but is totally devoid of any Biblical precedent. We are never told any of the names of demonic forces, only that they exist. Honestly, we are never told to “rebuke the devil (see Zac. 3:2; Jude 1:9) where the Bible says “The Lord rebuke you Satan.” Yes, we do wage spiritual warfare but not in this mystical format. Our warfare is daily against the temptations Satan and demons offer before us.

The 24/7 crowd take verses, such as this: May the praise of God be in their mouths and a double-edged sword in their hands, to inflict vengeance on the nations and punishment on the peoples, to bind their kings with fetters, their nobles with shackles of iron, to carry out the sentence written against them. This is the glory of all his saints. Psalms 149:6-9 (underlining added for emphasis).

And interpret it to mean that via the praises of God in our mouths we wage and win spiritual warfare. However, in context (that dreaded word) David being a man of war, a man who had slaughtered so many people that God would not permit him to build His temple meant what he said. As we go into battle we do so with God’s praises in our mouths and a literal sword in our hand. The best analogy I can think of comes from clips of the war in Afghanistan against the Soviets. Film clips showed the mujahideen saying “Allah Akbar” (God is Great) then firing off a RPG 3 at a tank, that is what David is getting at in the text. Our two-edged sword is the Word of God (see Rev. 1:16, 19:15). It is the weapon Jesus used against Satan in the wilderness temptations saying “it is written” to Satan time and time again.

If binding and loosing as taught and practiced by the extremists is a doctrine of God (as opposed to a manmade doctrine or doctrine of devils), then why isn’t it clearly taught in the Scriptures, why isn’t it being practiced by Peter and Paul in the Book of Acts? If it is a restored truth when was it initially practiced and when did the Church lose it? They cannot answer this question because they are without biblical support and historical support.

If binding and loosing as taught and practiced by the extremists worked then where are the results? What genuine quantifiable and verifiable results of true revival, redemption and community restoration can be shown to us? There are no results that can be shown. After over ten years of doing this, if it was indeed directed by the Holy Spirit, then there should be some evidence of change, actually there should be quite a bit of proof. It is like I tell people who believe Benny Hinn has a “miracle ministry.” Hinn has been holding miracle crusades every month for many years and by now he should have a warehouse full of medically documented healing(s) and miracles. Yet he does not have even a half a dozen which can be verified. Why do people follow him by the millions? Because they are deceived. One definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, each time expecting a different result.

Those people have made prayer to God and the praising of God a device by which we move God or the devil. God does not need our prayers. We on the other hand need to desperately pray and seek God. The God of the Bible is totally sovereign and He does not need our permission to move in the universe of His own creation.

Our prayer life is to flow out of our relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Praise is simply our reaction to God’s goodness. We are called to “give thanks” in all circumstances (1 Thess. 5:18). Prayer and praise should fill our hearts and thus be expressed by our mouths as naturally as our breathing. Jesus warned against thinking people would be heard for their “many words” when praying (Matt. 6:7). In that verse Jesus says “do not keep on babbling like the pagans” which is what these meetings are, a small or large group of people babbling away in ecstatic speech. It seems to me that they are engaging in the very thing Jesus warned us not to do.

Personally, I am all for prayer; it is undeniably part of our lives as a royal priesthood and holy nation unto God (1 Pet. 2:9). I wish my Lutheran brethren really knew how to pry from their hearts, as opposed to praying 99% of the time from a book of prayers. Prayer books are fine in their proper place, but you do not grow relationally by praying other people’s prayers all the time. I agree with Paul that we are to pray without ceasing (1 Thes. 5:17) but this can easily be done within the context of our vocations in life, it does not mean we must wall ourselves up in a monastery. I firmly believe that the effective fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much (James 5:16). Yet fervent does not mean long-winded spewing forth of words, it means heart-felt and sincere.

I love to worship God in song also. I would like to see more music and hymns be incorporated into our Sunday services, yet I sing to my Lord because of who He is and what He has done — not to wage spiritual warfare or bring revival. Psalm 92:1 tells us that “It is good to praise the LORD and make music to your name, O Most High.”

In conclusion what are we to make of this 24/7 movement? It cannot be called unbiblical because there is Biblical precedent for it, albeit from the Old Testament. Nor would I say that there is anything wrong with praying to God and offering Him praise 24/7 —IF (and it is a HUGE “if”) there is a proper understanding of what prayer and praise are. Unfortunately, this is where these folks veer off course. Their definition and use of prayer and praise is unbiblical. Their motivation for praying and singing to God 24/7 is unbiblical. The result is a veiled attempt at a form of works righteousness. By their pseudo-spiritual works they see themselves as releasing God to move, if they do not do this then God cannot or will not move in the Church and community. This is simply “foolishness gone to seed” as the dead heretic Ken Hagin used to say. These people have placed both prayer and praise even above the preaching of the Word of God. They also view all the performing arts as acts of praise and prophecy (they get this from Psl.150). Because they have redefined what prayer and praise is biblically and redefined what the purpose is for both expressions I come to the conclusion that what is taking place is nothing other than simply another form of charismatic extremism which will excite many for a season but it will produce nothing of value spiritually, other than another lesson learned in what not to do.♦

Copyright © 2009  Robert S. Liichow

End Notes

1. Charismaticthink is a word I have coined and it simply refers to reading a text of Scripture without any consideration of its context or historical eschatological setting.

2. See: www.tabernacle-of-david.com/todchurchsmodel4praise.html obtained on 6-11-09

3. Ibid.

4. See: www.ihop.org/Publisher/Article.aspx?ID-1000045365 obtained on 06-11-09

5. Ibid.

6. Obtained from http://www.nextga.us/impact/harpbowl on 06-12-09

7. Obtained from http://www.zionsong.org/art-giffting-bibquall.html on 06-12-09

8.ibid





Did I sit on the sidelines while the playing field burned?

25 02 2010
Truth Matters Newsletters – May 2009 – Vol. 14  Issue 5 – Did I sit on the sidelines while the playing field burned? – by Rev. Bob Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

Did I sit on the sidelines while the playing field burned?

By Chris Elrod

Last Thursday night I got “the call”. My friend and fellow Lakeland pastor let me know that the news about Todd Bentley…the news that had circulated around Lakeland for weeks…was finally about to break. For months it had been rumors…with very little hard facts to back it up. Local church leaders had been hearing things about Todd…and Ignited Church…that caused us to question even more the validity of the “revival”. Then the truth began to come out bit by bit…first to Lakeland…then the world…and now Todd’s wife was in Canada getting help while he was “floating around” the United States trying to get his head together. Yes Todd had been convicted of molesting a 7-year-old boy in Canada. Yes Todd was legally separating from his wife. Yes there is an another women involved. Yes this was not the first time Todd had been involved with another woman. Yes Todd and Ignited Church had failed to address concerns …many being voiced by their own denomination and people that support such Charismatic outpourings…about the heresy being preached and displayed at the “revival”. Yes there was not one single medical document to prove that any healings had actually taken place. Yes the media could find no one…not one single person…to come forward and say they had been healed during the “revival”.

As the fall out continues and more facts are beginning to emerge about everyone involved with this mess, I have begun to ask myself some pretty hard questions. Did I handle this correctly?

When the first news began to break around here about Todd, healings and the revival…I went to see it for myself. In all I attended four separate “revival” meetings over a two month period. I also watched countless hours of the events on the internet. I witnessed Todd hollering “BAM” a lot. I witnessed “verification teams” in the parking lot carefully choosing people deemed candidates for “healing” while turning many others down. I watched ushers push ill children away from the state area because they had not been reproved for “healing”. I heard stories about pixie-dust spreading angels and conversations with the Apostles in some abstract heavenly cabin. I saw leg drops, high kicks, head punches and every other Wrestlemania cliché under the sun. I heard anonymous crazy stories about people being healed and others being raised from the dead. I heard and saw many strange things…but nothing that even remotely kept with sound doctrine. Every Biblical discerning bone in my body showed me that there was nothing going on at the “revival” that was in keeping with God’s Word.

I began to speak out against the revival, Todd and Ignited church to our people. Mainly it was through our Journey Groups, one-on-one conversations, phone calls and emails. However, I was advised by several other pastors not to speak out against it publicly because “I might be speaking against something that God is actually doing” (I wasn’t questioning God…I was questioning Todd). Therefore I never addressed it from the pulpit because our pod cast is heard by hundreds of people all over the world. I never blogged about it because I get a 1,000+ hits on a normal day. I dodged the questions about the “revival” from other folks all over the world. In essence I protected my flock from the three-ring circus and hoopla…but did nothing to protect the body as a whole.

Hindsight they say is 20/20. It now turns out that all of the rumors were true. It now turns out that the Scriptural discernment was correct. It now turns out that this was the same hyper-Charismatic craziness without accountability that the leadership of the sponsoring church is known for. The three ring circus has been packed up, the tents have been taken down, the moral failure has been announcement, everyone involved is pushing back and thousands of hurting people are left questioning God and their salvation. The question that I now have to ask myself…the question that will haunt me for quite a while is…did I sit on the sideline while the playing field burned? Should have I blogged about it…spoken out about it publicly…done more to get the word out to the rest of the world that this whole thing was about Todd and not God? I took care of my own house…but should I have done more to take care of the entire neighborhood?

______________________________________

Discernment Ministries International rejoices that Pastor Elrod’s vocal cords have been “loosed” to speak the truth and expose error. Sadly, as DMI shared a few months ago, Mr. Bentley is in the process of being “restored” by another self-proclaimed apostle and he will no doubt be unleashed upon the Church to prey on the desperate and ignorant in our midst.

Pastor Elrod’s last sentence is very meaningful to me because he has stated exactly what the problem is within the Church today. Too many pastors are content to feed their flock and DO and SAY nothing about the ravening wolves attacking millions of professing believers. The mindset is sort of like “you don’t bother me and I won’t bother you.

The sad fact is that the heretics and blasphemers are affecting all of us. Oh maybe not directly in our local congregations, but I know very few people who do not have family members, who are “faithfully” being instructed in error by Kenneth Copeland, Joyce Meyer, Benny Hinn and others. There are very few Christian television programs that are doctrinally sound, and very slim pickings on Christian radio as well. Just go to your local Christian bookstore and see whose books they are promoting or how much shelf space is dedicated to the charismatic movement.

John Donne said it best when he said “no man is an island,” and so it is within the church. We are our brother’s keeper and God expects (and will hold us accountable) for us to warn those who are in sin {Eze. 3:18} and error. We are to rebuke those who are misleading others (Titus 2:15}. We are to correct those who err {2 Tim. 4:2}.

Brothers and sisters more than ever with what is transpiring within the Church and politically that “TRUTH MATTERS.” Our voice in Teaching Truth and Exposing Error was almost silenced recently due to a lack of financial support.

Because of a faithful few DMI has been able to get the newsletter back in circulation…BUT our website is still own and we would really like to see it up and running again so that millions of people can have access to literally 1,000’s of pages of documentation showing the abysmal lack of biblical support for the madness infecting millions of professing believers.

WE NEED YOUR FAITHFUL SUPPORT LIKE NEVER BEFORE. PLEASE HELP KEEP OUR “VOICE” FROM BEING SILENCED

 





Towering Todd Topples

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

Discernment Ministries International

Towering Todd Topples

By Rev. Robert S. Liichow

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

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

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

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

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

A Short Walk Among the Giants of Pentecostalism

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Paul Cain

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

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

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

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

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

Lest We Forget the Television Superstars

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

Peter Popoff

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

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

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

Robert Tilton

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jimmy Swaggart

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

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

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

How Is This Explained?

Robert Liardon

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

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

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

In Closing

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

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

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

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

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

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

Copyright ©  2008 Robert S. Liichow

End Notes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

8. Ibid

9. Ibid. Underlining added for emphasis.

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

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

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

13. Ibid.

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

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





The Lunacy In Lakeland – déjà Vu All Over Again

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

Discernment Ministries International

The Lunacy In Lakeland

déjà Vu All Over Again

By Robert S. Liichow

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

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

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

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

Who Is Behind The Lunacy at Lakeland?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Is the Revival Biblical ?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Copyright © 2008  Robert S. Liichow

 





“HEARING” THE VOICE OF GOD

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

Discernment Ministries International

Hearing the Voice of God

By Rev. Robert S. Liichow

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Who “Heard” the voice of God?

Old Testament

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

New Testament

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some Charismatic Comments

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The BIG Question

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

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

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

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

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

Copyright © Robert S. Liichow

 





The Coming Great Awakening

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

Discernment Ministries International

The Coming Great Awakening

By Robert S. Liichow

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

RODNEY H. BROWNE

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

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

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

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

Consider the Source

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Revival, Oh Really?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Biblical Witness of the “End Times”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Copyright © Robert S. Liichow

End Notes:

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

2. Ibid

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

10. Hamon, Bill

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

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

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

 





The Discipline of Biblical Meditation

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

Discernment Ministries International

By Rev. Robert S. Liichow

The Discipline of Biblical Meditation

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

What Meditation Is Not

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Biblical Meditation Defined

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

These Kingdom seekers embody —

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

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

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

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

How Often?

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

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

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

The Results of Meditation

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

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

King David the Master of Meditation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Copyright © Robert S. Liichow

AMEN !

 

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Here We Go Again

25 10 2009
Truth Matters Newsletters – May 2007 – Vol. 12 Issue 5 – Here We Go Again – by Rev. Robert S. Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

Here We Go Again

By Rev. Robert S. Liichow

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Want to get a charismatic extremist salivating? Just tell him or her that “revival” is on the horizon! Charisma magazine has a section entitled the “Prophetic Edge” and in the April 2007 issue the article is entitled, “Get Ready to Serve” written by Steve Hill. His article starts with the following words:

SOMETHING POWERFUL IS ON THE HORIZON. The Lord is equipping His church for the greatest outpouring the world has ever seen. We must do everything possible to prepare our hearts and to train others for this soul-saving revival. We also must be willing to be used by the Lord in new, unfamiliar ways. (1)

Hill’s History

Allow me to refresh your memory concerning Mr. Hill. He is the individual who is often cited as God’s instrument for the so-called revival at the Brownsville Assemblies of God (BAG) church in Pensacola, Florida. According to the BAG mythology here is what they claimed took place. The Pensacola church has been divinely appointed by God to be the catalyst of revival according to some prophetic words given by a couple of recognized charismatic leaders. In 1993 Dr. Paul Cho, pastor of the world’s largest congregation in Korea was in the United States and was praying for revival:

He did so, and the Holy Spirit told him to point his finger at the map. As he did, he felt his finger drawn to the Florida panhandle and to the city of Pensacola. “I am going to send revival to the seaside city of Pensacola, and it will spread like a fire until all of America ha been consumed by it,” said the Lord to Dr. Cho, Dr. Cho shared his experience with others and the word predictably spread to many of the pastors in the Pensacola area. Some time later, a Mobile, Alabama, Church of God pastor (70 miles away from Pensacola) inquired of Dr. Cho. “Dr. Cho, there’s been a rumor that you have prophesied a great revival in America to begin in Pensacola, Florida. Is there any truth to this?” he asked. “No rumah! No rumah! No rumah! Said Dr. Cho in his broken English “Received vision; revival will com!” (2)

Cho’s “leading” of the Spirit sounds more like someone using a planchet on a Ouija board as opposed from hearing from God. Not to mention the fact that what Cho allegedly received from the Holy Spirit did not come to pass. The fire did not spread throughout all America, nor was all America consumed by it. The revival did spread to many charismatic and Pentecostal congregations and the fruit produced by it was nothing less than spiritual heartache, disappointment, church splits and fanaticism. (3) Secondly, I have personally sat under Cho’s preaching and his English is not broken, if anything, he speaks English better than many Americans, so the “broken English” is not true either. Make no mistake about it my friends, God is not inaccurate and His true prophets were absolutely correct when they spoke under the direction of the Holy Spirit. Cho was not hearing from the Holy Spirit, so his direction had to be coming from another source and given the paranormal way in which Cho describes this leading, we know that it had to be a demonic spirit that was his guide.

John Kilpatrick was the pastor of BAG during the revival. What he failed to tell people outside the congregation was that he sent his wife and leaders up to the Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship (TACF) prior to the actual assigned start date of the BAG revival. TACF was the North American vortex of enthusiasm and fanaticism and the holy laughter revival had already been in full gear for several years prior to the BAG “outpouring.” He sent these key leaders to TACF to get the blessing and get some idea of what they should expect at BAG. So Kilpatrick had primed the pump, his people had been fed a spurious prophetic word and thus were expecting a “revival” to visit them. Their leaders (unbeknown to many congregations members) had already bought into the delusion being meted out at TACF and the stage was set for Mr. Hill to arrive.

Hill arrives at BAG on Fathers Day June 18, 1995 and he brings the revival with him! A “sovereign” move of the Holy Spirit begins as Hill and other BAG leaders lay hands on the seekers. Those responding to the alter call begin to exhibit all the bizarre manifestations common to the TACF revival. Keep in mind that Florida is a long way from Canada so to these Pensacola Pentecostals manifestations such as uncontrollable laughter, spiritual drunkenness, being slain in the spirit from protracted times, shaking, hopping, arms flapping for hours ere “new” to many of them. (4)

To this day, BAG, Kilpatrick and Hill declare that what took place at Pensacola was completely different than what was taking place at TACF. What they are reluctant to admit is that BAG leaders went to TACF and brought that brand of madness back to Pensacola and simply waited for Hill to arrive. Nor does Hill admit that he himself received the “blessing” while attending meetings at Holy Trinity Church in Brompton England just prior to coming to BAG. The truth is that what took place in Pensacola was simply an extension of what was already happening in Toronto. The BAG revival was a fully coordinated and orchestrated event. One thing both revival centers do agree about is that these revival manifestations, also referred to as the “new wine” of the Holy Spirit are highly transferable from one anointed vessel into a person seeking the experience.

Kilpatrick declares that the Holy Spirit has fallen on their congregation and he agrees to allow Mr. Hill to continue to preach. The news spreads initially throughout the Assemblies of God denomination and many members come to BAG and fro there the news spreads to other Pentecostal and charismatic people. At the height of the madness BAG reported the following statistics:

…approximately 3,000-4,000 visitors attend the revival each night. According to Evangelist Steve Hill, who has preached over 650 messages, the Brownsville Revival has had over 1,720,000 visitors to the services and over 108,000 have responded to the altar calls. The Revival has attracted visitors from over 17 foreign nations and boasts about 100 foreign visitors a night. (5)

The revival fire sputtered to an end by 2000. It seems that five years is historically about the extent of any Pentecostal “revival.” One can only sustain peak emotionalism for so long and the spiritual junkies seek ever increasing doses of transcendental highs. (6) Once the crowds (and offerings) began to dwindle and the manifestations became passé, Hill was the first leader to abandon ship. Lindell Cooley, the worship leader at BAG was the next to leave and by 2003 Kilpatrick himself resigned (or was asked to leave). Cooley and Hill both became pastors of their own congregations and Kilpatrick started his own “evangelistic” association. I might add that the same thing took place at TACF when the fire turned into cold ashes. John Arnott resigned as senior Pastor and started his own outreach.

Interestingly enough the Brownsville revival website does not mention much about all the controversy surrounding their move of the Spirit. They fail to mention the acrimonious split that occurred between BAG and the revival “Bible School” that had been birthed during the revival:

This group of students is particularly unique. With such a flood of interest in the school’s Fall session, this may be the only opportunity for such a small group of only 120 to commune together with the Holy Spirit and learn under tutors and elders while being in the midst of the mighty outpouring of Revival fire. (7)

The school started with big hopes but shortly became a divisive issue the school ended up leaving the church and establishing itself down the road. Also these leaders failed to mention the scorching articles written about the revival in the Pensacola News Journal. A series of articles uncovered the following facts about the two main leaders, Kilpatrick and Hill:

The two ministers we investigated were the two who are most in the spotlight: John Kilpatrick, the pastor of the revival church, and Steve Hill, the revival’s evangelist Both live in Alabama, not Florida. Alabama’s records are not easy to access and track, but when we finally got the property records together, we could prove that the revival had provided those two men with dramatically improved lifestyles and successively large and more luxurious homes. Their primary source of revenue is the nonprofit corporation each one created

We uncovered the ways the ministers turned Brownsville Revival into a million-dollar industry, and we uncovered the facts that contradicted their statements about how the money was used…We found and exposed the falsehoods in the public image that the evangelist [Hill] had constructed for himself…We debunked the revival leaders’ claims that they were performing miraculous healings. We tracked down a number of people the revival touted as “cured” and found none had medical evidence, such as lab tests, X-rays, or doctor’s examinations, to corroborate the cure…We exposed the origin of the revival, showing it was a planned and orchestrated event. A well-edited videotape of the first revival service appears to support the leaders’ claims that the revival was a spontaneous act of God. But close and attentive viewing reveals how it was manipulated to make the public believe the revival was spontaneous. (8)

Mr. Hill’s salvation testimony is riddled with exaggeration and outright lies but it does make for “exciting” reading, after all, God needs our help form time to time…ask Abraham. His claims of divine healing and miracles also proved to be false when given closer scrutiny. Hill reaped hundreds of thousands of dollars from the BAG outpouring and yet provided little if any genuine spiritual adulation began to dry up Hill knew it was time to head on down the road and form his own church, which he did in Dallas, Texas.

Now seven years later Hill is back and proclaiming that God is equipping His church for the GREATEST OUTPOURING the world has EVER SEEN! He says in his article that “a fresh evangelistic anointing is about to rest upon true believers.” Considering the lies, fraud and deception fostered by Hill in the prior greatest outpouring, I guess he will miss out on this upcoming greatest outpouring…since it is only for true believers. (9)

Hill is at best a semi-Pelagian and this heretical position stresses the roll of man in every aspect of redemption. We can see the man-centered emphasis in his article

However, we can’t ignore those who are starving for fresh bread and fresh water from heaven. Their deep[ hunger pains can only be satisfied as we offer more of God’s presence, power and prophetic insight. We can do this by allowing the Lord to show up in our church services….without restraint. The world is craving a touch from the creator. We must provide the atmosphere and the opportunity for miracles to take place… I believe God is going to empower us by sending a new wave of revelation as a foundation for operating in the prophetic… (10)

To begin with the world is not “craving a touch from the Creator,” I guess Evangelist/prophet and now Pastor Hill has forgotten the following elementary Bible truth:

This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. John 3:19-20

You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. John 8:44

As it is written, There is none righteous, no not one: there is none that understand, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one Romans 3:10-12

No one comes to a saving faith in Jesus Christ of their own volition. The Father draws us to His Son by the working of the Holy Spirit (John 6:44). We are saved by GRACE alone through faith alone. The faith that saves is itself a GIFT from God (Ephesians 2:8) and not of human works.

Hill does not mention how “we” are to go about offering more of God’s presence, power and prophetic insight. He does not mention the reality of Baptism or the Lord’s Supper as means of God’s grace and presence. Nor does he ever mention the proclamation of the Gospel, which is the power of God unto everyone who believes (Romans 1:16). God’s Word is the infallible and totally sufficient prophetic insight, yet Hill means a fresh new revelation flowing from a restored prophet.

Hill says it is our job to provide the “atmosphere” and “opportunity” for miracles to take place. Just what does that mean? Talk about subjectivity! He does not state how we are to create this atmosphere and opportunity for miracles. He failed to produce such an atmosphere at Pensacola, maybe he has obtained some new “mystical” insight during the last seven years that he lacked back in the mid 90’s.

Hill says “I believe God is going to empower us…” but he does not say what he bases his faith on. His entire article does not cite one biblical text at all! He goes on to pontificate on what will characterize this next greatest outpouring. The new and unfamiliar” ways that God will empower His people seems to be in the arena making us peripatetic psychics:

He will reveal to us the depth of their cravings as if we were watching a documentary on starvation…

The spiritually sensitive are going to experience revelation knowledge of those who are dying of spiritual malnutrition and disease.

Hidden secrets with be revealed to the believer, and out of a heart of compassion, he or she will share them [the hidden secrets] with the lost to prove that Jesus Christ is alive. These words will be so direct and precise that conversations will take place. (11)

According to Hill during this next greatest outpouring God’s true saints are going to share these revelations that will be so “direct” and “precise” that people will be converted by our sharing them! What utter nonsense! Does Hill have any scriptures, even out of context to back up his assertions? No, none whatsoever. The Bible does say the following:

For the word of God is living and active. Sharper tan any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Hebrews 4:12 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. 1 Corinthians 1:21

It is the Word of God that reveals the content of men’s hearts, not man mystically “anointed.” It is the seeming (to the world) foolishness of preaching the living Word of God that the Holy Spirit uses to convict the world of sin and draw people to Christ, not some demonstration of power. NEVER FORGET the Jews saw daily miracles for forty years in the desert and yet died there in UNBELIEF (Hebrews 3:19) Miracles do not create faith! Faith comes by hearing and hearing comes by the word of God (Romans 10:17) Marin Luther rightly stressed that God moves through His Word and sacraments and any other alleged “moving” of the Spirit apart from these means is demonic.

Hill, like Schuller places the emphasis on mans actions and not God’s drawing power through proclaiming the Gospel. Hill states:

My favorite prophetic words have always been those that are given outside the church walls. These are divine appointments that reach into the lives of people who often know nothing of biblical principles and doctrine. All they know is that some brave heart just read their mail. (13)

He closes his pronouncement of the coming greatest world revival by saying such “divine appointments” will be commonplace in the days ahead of us and that “these words fitly spoken, will literally shock the unbeliever into reality. (14) What he is describing is more akin to encountering the occult work of the TV psychics John Edwards or Sylvia Browne than any biblical accounts of people encountering the reality of their sin in the light of God’s holiness. In fact, according to the new reformation of Schuller the reality of personal sin is a barrier to accepting the grace of God in Christ. “Once a person believes he is an ‘unworthy sinner,” it is doubtful if he can really honestly accept the saving grace God offers in Christ Jesus.” (15) My friends let me state unequivocally that unless a person is brought to despair through seeing themselves as sinful they will not cry out “God have mercy on me, a sinner” (Luke 18:13, NIV)

What Does the Bible Say About Revival?

Hill ha made the bulk of his money off of revivalism, which is possibly why he is proclaiming the coming greatest revival in human history. Who better to ask then the man seen as responsible for the Pensacola Outpouring? If I had the opportunity to ask Mr. Hill I would ask him the following questions. “Didn’t the people at Azusa street in 1906 declare that what they were experiencing was the final fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy? Or, how about, “didn’t restored prophets declare that what was taking place in North Battleford, Saskatchewan in 1949 was really the fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy?” maybe I should ask, “wasn’t 1967 declared by the Roman Catholics to be the beginning of Charismatic Renewal in the Church?” These sign-seekers have made as many false predictions as the Jehovah’s Witnesses! Or maybe I could ask him about all the supposed “moves” of the Holy Spirit beginning with the Pentecostal movement of 1906, the New Order of the Latter Rain of 1949-52, possibly the Charismatic movement of 1959, possibly the Word of Faith movement, the Prophetic movement of 1980, the Apostolic movement of 1990, the Signs and Wonders movement of 1995-onward? More moves than Exlax my friends! In the face of all these unfulfilled deception ridden and experience driven non-revivals Hill has the audacity to declare the “greatest” revival is just around the corner!

Personally, I would rather enquire of the scriptures and see what they indicate regarding the last days. Does the Bible state that the Church and world will experience a world-wide soul-saving revival or not? Are there any prophetic statements that (in their context) indicate a great sweeping move of the Spirit prior to the return of Christ? I will simply cite a few of the biblical texts and let you draw your own conclusions:

At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold. Matthew 24:10-12

At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect–if that were possible. See, I have told you ahead of time. Matthew 24:23-25

For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their action deserve. 2 Corinthians 11:13-15

The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kind of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. The perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12

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

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

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

First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.” 2 Peter 3: 4

Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 1 John 4:1

In these eight passages do you read anything about a great world-wide soul-saving revival”? I read of the love of most people growing cold, of the danger of false Christs (truth Matters just dealt with one last month), false apostles, false teachers, and false prophets. At no time in recorded Church history have there been as many people claiming to either be a restored apostle or prophets as there are today. (16)

Deceivers are going about seeming to work signs and wonders which are not from God. Claims of holy laughter, spiritual drunkenness, being slain in the spirit, heavenly jewels, and even angel feathers abound in thousands of congregations.

People claiming to be ministers exploit those who follow them and making merchandise out of God’s gullible sheep. Countless numbers of professing Christians have indeed heaped up teachers who teach them exactly what they want to hear versus faithful teachers who will teach them what they need to hear.

Revival? Sorry Mr. Hill I do not know what translation you are reading that gives you any idea of such a thing. The truth is the people who claim revival do so apart from scriptural support. Hill’s article, as I noted, does not mention one verse of scripture. Why not? The answer is simple, there aren’t any for him to cite. He and others must declare that the “Lord” has given them insight regarding the coming revival(s) supernaturally apart form the Bible.

In closing to my charismatic brethren I would remind them of the old saying “fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.” Don’t get fooled again by this man with an abysmal track record. Don’t be deceived by a man who would break the Third Commandment and lie in the name of the Lord God. No my friends, my advice is simply this—keep your eyes focused upon Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith and pray for Mr. Hill and those who would be beguiled by him and others promising much but producing nothing of enduring value.

Copyright © Robert S. Liichow

Endnotes

1. Underlining added for emphasis, Steve Hill, “Get Ready to Serve,” Charisma, April, 2007, 14

2. Bold type added for emphasis, Brownsville Revival Organization, Home page: http://www.brownsville-revival.org/index/php?option=com_content&task=view&id=17&Itemid=163/ accessed on April 9, 2007.

3. This book can be purchased form DMI for a donation of $10.00 plus 3.00 shipping and handling Roert Liichow, Fruit Proof (Detroit: by the author, 1999

4. Rev. Liichow has written separate booklets on each of these manifestations all of which can be purchased from DMI individuality or a set.

5. Religious Movements, http://religiousmovements.lib.virginia.edu/nrms/Brownsv.html. Accessed on April 7, 2007).

6. I speak from experience as a former charismatic and revival participant I know that one cannot “live” off of yesterday’s spiritual experience.

7. “Brownsville Revival Magazine,” http://www.victorious.com/BRMagazine/brsmopen.htm accessed on April 7, 2007

8. Bold type and underlining added for emphasis, Gannett, May, 1998, http://www.gannett.com/go/newswatch98/may/nw0515-1.htm accessed April 7, 2007

9. Steve Hill, “Get Ready to Serve,” Charisma, April, 2007, 14

10. Steve Hill, “Get Ready to Serve,” Charisma, April, 2007, 14 Underlining added.

11. Steve Hill, “Get Ready to Serve,” Charisma, April, 2007, 14

12. Robert Schuller, Self-Esteem: The New Reformation (Waco, Texas Word, 1982), 64

13. Steve Hill, “Get Ready to Serve,” Charisma, April, 2007, 14

14. Steve Hill, “Get Ready to Serve,” Charisma, April, 2007, 14

15. Robert Schuller, Self-Esteem: The New Reformation (Waco, Texas Word, 1982), 64

16. A simple Google search on the Internet on the word “apostle” displays over 8 million web sites and “prophets” displays over 24 million. Certainly not all of these site are run by so-called restored prophets and apostles, but thousands of them are.





THE TORONTO DECEPTION by a Former Vineyard Pastor

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

Discernment Ministries International

THE TORONTO DECEPTION by a Former Vineyard Pastor

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sincerely, Paul Gowdy

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

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

Rev. Robert S. Liichow





Rekindling An Extinguished Flame (Making Money Off A Memory)

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

Discernment Ministries International

Rekindling An Extinguished Flame

(Making Money Off A Memory)

By Rev. Bob Liichow

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

A.A. Allen’s

Miracle Valley

Resurrected

Resurrection Glory Tent Revival

February 21-25th, 2007

‘Miracles, Healings, Signs and Wonders once again at

Miracle Valley, Arizona.

A Generation later God is now restoring this massive

Well

Of Glory and Power! (1)

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

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

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

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

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

A Little Stroll Down Memory Lane

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Just When You Thought It Could Get No Worse

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

Sound the Alarm

New School of Signs and Wonder

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

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

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

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

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

Last Days Anointing for Signs and Wonders?

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

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

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

For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. {Possibly interpreted ‘I am the anointed’}. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people. Matthew 24:5,10,11

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Copyright © Robert S. Liichow

 

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End Note

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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





Do Miracles, Signs & Wonders Create Faith?

17 09 2009
Truth Matters Newsletters – September 2006 – Vol. 11 Issue 9 – Do Miracles, Signs & Wonders Create Faith? – by Robert S. Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

Do Miracles, Signs & Wonders Create Faith? 

By Robert S. Liichow

 

Bonnke claims that “miracles are proof of the presence of the power of God (1) Bonnke emphasized the date of June 1scanMIRACLEBOOK00011 separately, at which time Christ would in a special way point Himself. In Bonnke’s Language this announcement meant that Christ would evidence Himself by unusually numerous miracles during the service. (2) The supernatural will occur differently; maybe out in public is valid. I believe it can be kind of God’s calling card. (3)

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In the past as a charismatic extremist if I heard this statement once I heard it a hundred times, “miracles are God’s calling card.” We heard this uttered in person at the Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship by John Arnott, former senior a few years ago.

 

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What is meant by this statement and other similar statements is that the Lord is supposed to be working miracles through His anointed vessels as a means to bring people to a saving faith in Christ Jesus. Lester Sumrall, now deceased made the following statement in his book Miracles Don’t Just Happen:

In the Acts of the Apostles we read of ‘all that Jesus began both to do and to teach.’ His doing preceded His teaching.

Every sermon that Christ preached was prefaced by a model miracle. We are going to follow His example. (4)

To begin with Lester makes the assumption that the “doing” of Jesus was always a miraculous event which was then followed up with His proclaiming of the Gospel, ergo we should expect to work miracles first and then preach the Word. Sumrall is reading into this text more than there is, he is guilty of eisegesis versus exegesis.

There are a great many sermons where Jesus did not perform miracles “first” and then proceed to teach the people. Frankly, just about anytime Jesus spoke it was a sermon of one type or another. Here are a few examples:

Matthew 7:28-29 And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine: For he taught them as [one] having authority, and not as the scribes.

Here Jesus preached first then we read of Him healing several people, the leper (8:2), the centurion’s servant (8:7), Peter’s mother-in-law (8:15). In all of these cases we find examples of healing and not miracles. In fact, these texts in places state “and I will come and heal him” (8:7). We read in Mark 1:39 “And he preached in their synagogues throughout all Galilee, and cast out devils.” Jesus again is shown preaching the Gospel then performing signs and wonders.

Mr. Sumrall was simply wrong in his teachings about miracles. Unfortunately his views have been part-n-parcel of early Pentecostalism and today’s Charismatic movement. Almost every major sign-gift SINister has written books or produced tapes or videos on how to become a miracle worker or how to receive a miracle. * Here are just a few examples:

Oral RobertsExpect A Miracle / and Still Expecting Miracles (2 tapes)

Kenneth CopelandWalking in the Realm of the Miraculous

Benny HinnMiracles DVD

Steve HillOperating in the Miraculous (God wants to use you in his miraculous!)

Marilyn HickeyYour Miracle Source

Charles & Francis HunterImpossible Miracles

Kenneth E. HaginMiracles of Healing (tape series)

Kathryn KuhlmanI Believe in Miracles

Robert TiltonFaith Aid Miracle Healing Kit

Prophet T.B. JoshuaDivine Miracles (DVD)

Don Stewart — Miracle Seeds for Success and Prosperity

John Wimber Power Evangelism, Signs & Wonders Today

Signs and Wonders and Church Growth

Pat RobertsonMiracles Can Be Yours Today

Paul F. Crouch and R.W. SchambachMiracles II “Greater Miracles

R.W. Schambach Miracles: Eyewitness to the Miraculous

The Price of God’s Miracle-Working Power

T.L. OsbornReceive Miracle Healing

How to Receive Miracle Healing

Modern Miracles in Mombasa

Ruth HeflinMiracles that I have Seen

WHEN THE MIRACULOUS BECOMES COMMONPLACE IT CEASES TO BE “MIRACULOUS”

These are just a few of the better known authors of books about how to obtain a miracle, how to develop spiritually to work miracles, etc. All of the books that have been cited are available on the Internet by simple googling the name of the author. Most of these books and many others are available in almost all “Christian” bookstores too.

It is one thing to write about miracles, but it is quite another to proclaim yourself a miracle-worker as many SINisters do today. Mr. David Hogan is possibly a bigger prevaricator than Benny Hinn. The following is a direct statement from his website:

The ministry has become known for some amazing miracles through the Holy Spirit. They report to have witnessed over 200 people being raised from the dead! When David is not in Mexico he ministers under a strong anointing for preaching and healing. (5)

On his website you can watch a series of videos entitled “Faith to Raise the Dead.” The Statement made before the links to these videos says “These videos may be some of the most viewed and listened to around the earth in our time.” This is simply not true, in fact, I’ll wager that the majority of Christians have never even heard of Mr. Hogan. Hogan has never brought one person forward to be examined or interviewed who he is supposed to have raised form the dead. One would think that TBN or the 700 Club would love to have an “exclusive” interview with one such person. Surely out of over 200 people Hogan could produce one or two resurrected folks….who no doubt could write books on what they experienced while dead.

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Peter Popoff is another proven fraud and liar. His website’s front page says “Peter Popoff Miracle Ministry.” (6) His site is filled with unsubstantiated testimonies of alleged miracles due to Mr. Popoff’s direct connection with God. Unfortunately his video clips of his healing services are not working on his site, so you’ll just have to take his word about what God is doing through him. You can order free “miracle spring water,” which I encourage all our readers to do and get on his mailing list as well so you can receive monthly point-of-contact fetish items each month!

The best known miracle-man today is naturally Mr. Benny Hinn. Here is a copy of a ticket I received from him:

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Hinn knows in advance that “God’ will be working miracles through him; he also is an astute observer of the desperate plight of multitudes of people who are willing to drive hundreds of miles, wait in long lines for hours, and donate money they can’t afford to give; yet do so in the hope that God is indeed working miracles through Hinn and that they will be the recipient of God’s miraculous power.

It is the height of presumption and hubris to declare God will be working miracles tonight or that He will be healing the sick during this revival. Yet even with his abysmal track record of healing failures, i.e. people who his ministry declared “healed” who died either a few weeks, or months later multitudes still flock to this man’s so-called “Miracle Crusades” all over the world. (7) After close to twenty years of miracle crusades one would imagine that the offices of the Benny Hinn Ministries (BHM) would be overflowing with medical records, legal affidavits, and notarized statements from thousands of people who have either received divine healing or a genuine creative miracle. Yet BHM cannot produce any such proof of the bold claims Hinn makes.

My wife and I participated in several of Mr. Hinn’s crusades. At first we went as part of the mob, later we became part of the mass choirs (that got us closer to the “anointing”).

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The flow of the services go something like this: the song leader would lead the crowd in a few songs, then we’d sing “How Great Thou Art” and it was always during the singing of this song that Mr. Hinn, usually in a bright white suit, would appear on the platform with a spotlight on him. Folks, it was no accident that we were singing about how great God was, but Benny knew psychologically that the mob was there because they believed he, Hinn himself, was “great” too, certainly greater and closer to the Lord than they were.

Then Hinn would cite a few healing texts, reminding people that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He would proclaim how he felt a strong anointing or how he had been told by God in prayer that many miracles and healings would take place during that specific crusade. All that the people had to do was to have faith in God. Hinn never preached the Gospel in any of the crusades we attended; he simply cited texts on healing and especially on the blessings of giving.

How better to show ones faith than to put it into action by making as generous a donation as possible? The people were encouraged to “sow” a financial seed into BHM thus proving to God and themselves that they really believed. Hinn would pray God’s blessings on those who gave. Ushers mystically appeared with buckets which looked like the large family sized KFC buckets. Then with the precision of a Rolex ® watch and the speed of a Japanese bullet train thousands of sheep were sheared of their money.

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Once the money was collected then the real show began. Hinn would lead the choir in some simple songs, often having us sing the refrains over and over. Then he would suddenly stop and point out into the crowds (nonspecifically) and begin to declare that God was healing someone with cancer in the balcony or He was healing backs etc…Then a chosen, vetted few, would be allowed onto the platform where Hinn would either blow on them, hit them with his suit coat or lay hands on them and like domino’s they would all fall down. At times Hinn would knock down the same person several times saying “pick him up,” and laugh at them as they lay spastic at his feet.

Those lucky enough to be interviewed by Hinn always reported they were healed or received a miracle of a type which was non-verifiable. In other words, no arms grew back, the twisted bodies of the people in the “wheelchair section” remained as twisted. No visible tumors dropped off in front of the cameras. Then a few more songs would be sung while Hinn was led away by his henchmen. The MC for the evening would exhort people to not give up if they did not receive their miracle that evening, because tomorrow evening there would be another “miracle” service. They were also encouraged to purchase the “faith building” materials at all of the tables surrounding the arenas.

On Friday night the people got to see and some believed they felt the power of “God.” On Saturday morning (at least at the last crusade we sang in) an aging Rex Humbard toddled out onto the platform and gave the standard decision-based Gospel appeal to those faithful few who got up early enough to come back to the arena.

What I want to emphasize is the formula Hinn and basically all the other so-called healing evangelists and miracle workers use —perform the signs & wonders shtick, then make an appeal to the unconverted to answer the altar call and make a decision to receive Christ. Is this the biblical pattern for salvation? This is the position that needs to be rebutted biblically in order for us to come to the biblical truth.

Has God Appointed Modern Miracle Workers Today?

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It is important for you to understand clearly that DMI firmly believes that our Lord Jesus Christ does still heal His people. However, He does so according to the good pleasure of His will. There are no steps, laws, or principles that we can enact in order to cause our Lord to heal anyone.

The belief in the so-called ministry of the Healing Evangelist aka Miracle-worker came about in the mid 1800’s with the holiness movement and got firmly rooted in many Christian’s minds after 1906 after the neo-Montanist revival at Azusa Street in Los Angeles, California.

The reason the Church has been plagued by people such as Maria Woodworth-Etter (the trance evangelist), Smith Wigglesworth, F.F. Bosworth, Aimee Semple McPhearson, A.A. Allen, Kathryn Kuhlman, Jack Coe, Oral Roberts, T.L. Osborn, William Branham, Robert Tilton, Leroy Jenkins, Peter Popoff, Benny Hinn, Jim Wittington and a host of others is because their initial presuppositions were wrong.

Once people began to believe that God had “restored” the gift of other tongues supernaturally then it logically followed that they would also believe the other supernatural gifts either were restored or in the process of being restored, including the gift of the working of miracles (1 Cor. 12:10). It did not take the fledgling neo-Montanist movement long to continue down their slippery slope by believing that since “God” had restored the sign-gifts to the Church He is also restoring the office of the Prophet and the Apostle. To them the Book of Acts became a blueprint for how the Church is supposed to be organized and that miraculous signs and wonders are to be normative in local congregations.

A new magazine came to our office entitled The Voice of the Prophetic and it is filled with nuts, fruits and flakes to be perfectly blunt about it. Here is a quote from a “restored” prophetess by the name of Patricia King:

His voice repeatedly speaks to my heart, ‘I am waiting for My church to move in My authority, to conquer the works of darkness that are manifesting unrestrained. I am waiting for My mature sons and daughters to manifest My glory and My authority. All creation is waiting; all creation is groaning. (7)

Obviously, Ms. King does not place value on the work of Christ Jesus on the cross where He defeated Satan:

Col 2:13-15: And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; [And] having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.

I am not denying that there is legitimate spiritual warfare and conflict with Satan and his demons. Yet today’s extremists hold to a view that Satan and demons operate freely in this world unless the Church uses its divine authority to bind the devil and his imps up. I have personally heard the late Kenneth Hagin share how the Lord Jesus appeared to him but an evil spirit jumped up between them and Hagin could not hear Jesus. Hagin waited patiently for Jesus to do something (you see the cross was not enough). Then Hagin finally got angry and rebuked the demonic imp in Jesus name and it scampered away. Hagin asked Jesus why He didn’t do something about the evil spirit. Hagin’s Jesus said He couldn’t because He had given His authority to the Church and unless we do something about Satan and his works, well then, they just won’t get done! You can read about this encounter in Hagin’s book I Believe In Visions.

In the minds of the extremists today it is the mature believers within the Church who wield the true spiritual authority over the devil and demons, not Jesus Christ. Patricia King also misspeaks when her voice tells her that dark works are “manifesting unrestrained.” Yet again the Bible plainly teaches in Second Thessalonians:

2 Thess. 2:2-6: not to be quickly shaken in mind or excited, either by spirit or by word, or by letter purporting to be from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. Let no one deceive you in any way; for that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God. Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you this? And you know what is restraining him now so that he may be revealed in his time.

The evil one is currently under divine restraint and always will be. He is not manifesting anything in an unrestrained mode of operation at all. Satan is a created being who, although rebellious, is still completely subject to the sovereignty of God. He and his minions can do only what the Lord allows them to do. This is clearly seen in Job 1:10-12 or when the demons asked Jesus to allow them to enter into the swine (read Matt. 8:31-32).

Yet King rattles on in her article buttressing Hagin’s heterodox teaching by saying:

He is asking us to take up the authority He won back for us on the cross and move in His supernatural power to confront the powers of darkness, turning the attention of the people back to the One True God. (8)

NEWSFLASH !

Ms. King the world has never been focused on the One True God since the fall of Adam. The example she cites is that of Moses standing up against the Pharaoh’s magicians. The signs and wonders God wrought through Moses did not make the Egyptians believe, in fact, God hardened the heart of the Pharaoh as opposed to giving him faith. Through His work on the cross Jesus did not win back for us the “lost” power to move in the miraculous. He did give us a method to confront the powers of darkness, but that power comes in a completely different form then that which was given to Moses. The entire philosophy of those practicing what is called “strategic level spiritual warfare” is based upon the belief that we, the Church, must enforce Satan’s defeat and take back cities and even nations he has “owned.” This is why people like Dr. C. Peter Wagner, Cindy Jacobs, Dutch Schultz and others go to places like Ephesus and march around casting down the “spirit” of Diana which they had discerned had ruled over that area for centuries! (9)

Once a neighborhood or city has had the principalities and powers cast down and bound up by the mature saints…then there is what they call an “open heaven” where their prayers are unhindered and revival can come. Once these warriors have done their work people’s ears are now free from demonic blockage and they can and will receive Christ as Savior. In their view people cannot come to faith in Christ until the demonic forces are driven out or bound up by human agents! This is a blasphemous doctrine because it places both Satan and sinful man as ultimately in control of individuals eternal state before God. It is no longer God who draws, nor is it the Spirit who calls, but men.

This magazine goes on to state in another article concerning how the glory realm is getting thinner, i.e. nearer and more accessible to us. This article is written by Cindy McGill who says:

Already, we are experiencing manifestations of gold, jewels, instant miraculous healings and deliverances. God is flooding lives as He has given the invitation to come in and take over. These things are only the beginning of unbelievable things we are about to see. (10)

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DMI was among the first Apologetic Ministry to debunk the myth of gold teeth and gold dust, in fact, we may have the only book in circulation exposing this alleged phenomena. Most importantly, note how “God” through these miraculous signs & wonders is inviting us to come in and take over! The role of the Holy Spirit is not mentioned, nor the proclamation of the Gospel. Just non-biblical signs &wonders and presto the Church is just supposed to come in and take over. Take over what? Why the world of course. The Prophetic/Apostolic movement is almost exclusively one of Christian Dominion or what is also-called Kingdom Now Theology.

Moving in the miraculous is the new wave of evangelismStacey Campbell says in her article: Prophecy is for Unbelievers:

Of all the evangelism I have ever done—from surveys, to door-to-door, to street preaching, to church dinner, to friendship evangelism—prophetic evangelism is by far the most effective form of evangelism I have ever engaged in. (11)

Stacey seems to have literally been around the block when it comes to sharing the Christian faith. Yet out of all the methods she has tried what has proved most successful? Not the foolishness of preaching (read 1 Cor. 1:21) the Law & Gospel to the lost. Even though the Apostle Paul himself told the sign-saturated Corinthians—-

1 Co. 2:2: For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.

The Bible is completely silent about this so-called miraculous prophetic evangelism. Nowhere are God’s people exhorted to go out and win the lost via the use of the spiritual gifts (which we all possess in some fashion) given by the Holy Spirit. This concept is merely an outgrowth from what has become known as the “Third Wave” with Dr. C. Peter Wagner and John Wimber as its fountainhead. Wimber’s book Power Evangelism is where much of this unbiblical nonsense gained a foothold in the sign-gift movement. In his confused mind the simple preaching of the Gospel was not getting the job done. He believed and taught that people needed to see some demonstration(s) of wonder-working power before they would believe the message {according to Wimber and his followers}. In Wimber’s theology “seeing was believing,” yet is this the teaching of the Bible? Does God use miracles/miracle-workers to bring people to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ?

Probably one of the strongest biblical proofs from the Old Testament that signs and wonders do not create faith is seen in the lives of the Jews following Moses in the desert. They were brought out of Egypt through a series of miracles and the Lord sustained them for forty years by providing manna and quail for them. Yet what does the Bible have to say about this generation of sign-seeking people?

Heb 3:1-19 But with whom was he grieved forty years? [was it] not with them that had sinned, whom carcases fell in the wilderness? And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.

After a lifetime of seeing miracles these people were unable to enter into the land God has promised to give them because of their unbelief. Signs & wonders did not cause them to believe; it did not engender faith in their hearts at all.

Another instance is that of Nebuchadnezzar. He personally saw miracles (read Dan. 3:14-25, Dan. 6:22) yet these demonstrations of God’s power did not bring him to a saving faith in the God of Israel. Later on in the book of Daniel the miraculous hand that wrote on the wall (read Dan. 5:22) to Belshazzar did not bring him to repentance. The wondrous sign was in fact his death warrant, much as was the last great sign in Egypt, the slaying of all the firstborn makes. Or, how about the time when the ark was taken captive by the Philistines and placed in the temple of their god Dagon (read 1 Sam. 5:2)? After finding their god on his face, broken before the ark of the Lord, they decided they’d better send it back to Israel (1 Sam. 6:6-15). The signs God worked among the Philistines did not bring them to cast aside their false gods and embrace the true God in spite of His judgments upon them as long as they had the ark. The uniform testimony of the Old Testament proves that signs and wonders do not cause people to believe in the Living God. What about in the New Testament?

Maybe here we will find evidence of God moving in a new dispensation, one of signs and wonders to produce saving faith in people who witness or experience them.

In John chapter six our Lord feeds thousands in a miraculous way. The multitude wanted to immediately make Him their King and some did declare He was a prophet (see John 6:14). Jesus knew what was in their hearts and left by boat, yet the crowd followed Him and He rebuked them by saying:

John 6:26-27: Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled. Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.

The miracles of the loaves and fishes did not cause the people to believe He was the Savior. Some did think He was a prophet, others thought He’d make a good King, after all, He could feed them with little of their own labor,. So this great miracle did not produce saving faith. The people did want to know how they too could “work” the works (miracles) of God. Jesus’ response is very telling to our brethren who are besotted with so-called signs & wonders today:

John 6:28-29: Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.

Sorry folks, Jesus did not give the crowd three steps to miracle working power, nor did He provide six keys to the supernatural realm. Instead He pointed to His Father and said “this is the work of (from) God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.” Our Master refocused the people AWAY from the signs & wonders (food that perishes) and said that it was God who would do the work and that work was to draw whomever He would to faith in Hs Son. Jesus had a poor view of those who ran after Him seeking signs and wonders:

Matt 12:38-39: Then certain of the scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from thee. But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign, and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas:

Today’s sign seekers are an equally evil and adulterous in my opinion because they have misplaced their faith. Their faith is resting in what they can see or in some cases what type of “power” they can manifest and not in the Word of God first and foremost. In the account of the rich man who went to hell Jesus again warns that a miracle will not create saving faith, whereas God’s Word will:

Luke 16:29-31: Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.

Note the emphasis placed on hearing the Word of God and not seeing the powerful miracle of one being raised from the dead. The point is — if people will not receive the Word of God, then miracles will be of no help to them. So I repeat myself and state that miracles do not produce saving faith.

The extremist movement is hungry for spiritual power, yet seems to have little appetite for the simple teaching of the Bible. The Apostle Paul makes it very plain where the true power is when he writes:

Romans 1:16: For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth: to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

The accurate proclaiming of the Law & Gospel is the power of God unto salvation; not signs and wonders. The Gospel of John shows this power in operation:

John 1:12: But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, [even] to them that believe on his name:

Many of our brothers and sisters around the world have become fascinated concerning the signs, wonders, and miracles. Let us be cautious of many of the claims being made. The Bible warns us in several places about lying signs and wonders whose only goal is to deceive people and lead them AWAY from Jesus, not bring them to a saving faith in Him!

Matthew 24:11: And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.

Mark 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.

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

The Church has been warned repeatedly to be on guard against people who come saying they have the “power” of God. Those who are not grounded on a solid doctrinal foundation may be deceived by these clever counterfeits. Paul’s letter to the Thessalonians seems to indicate that people will love the lying signs and wonders which will lead them to NOT love the truth (“They word is truth” Jh 17:17).

Obviously, these miracles did not and will not bring people to faith in Jesus Christ…no miracle ever has apart from the sovereign working of God in the hearts of those He draws unto Himself.

On closing one of the most frightening warnings given by Christ in the Bible, at least to me when I was a former charismatic extremist myself is the following

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. As 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 they name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

Working or possessing supernatural (often confused with paranormal powers) gifts and using them in “Jesus” name is not the guarantee to enter into heaven. Jesus states quite emphatically in the Greek that He never at any time knew these people. What is the work God finds acceptable?

John 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.

The “work” is faith in God the Son and this work is really not ours per se. Faith to believe is a gift from God and it comes to us by grace alone (read Eph. 2:8). All the power the Church needs is found in the Gospel. It has the power to literally take people and translate them from the dominion of darkness into the Kingdom of God’s Dear Son. The Gospel makes the spiritually dead alive with life eternal and grants them an inheritance which is unfading.

Please pray for all of those who’ve been misled, often by well intentioned but ignorant leaders. Millions are seeking for God in all the wrong places chasing after the latest reported sign, wonder or revival…when all the time God’s true power, His Word sits gathering dust in their homes. Selah.

Copyright © 2006 Robert S. Liichow

End Notes

1. Simpson, Sandy. Reinhard Bonnke Out of Sight Out of Mind 04-24-01.

2. Ibid. Underlining added for emphasis.

3. Obtained from http://desertpastor.typepad.com/paradoxology/2006/signs_and_wonder.html on (08-20-06)

4. Sumrall, Lester, Miracles Don’t Just Happen, Plainfield, N.J. Logos International, 1979, p. 15

5. Obtained from http://www.fathersglory.com/insp/David_Hogan-1.htm. Underlining, italics and bold type added for emphasis.

6. Obtained from http://www.peterpopoff.org/

7. These “failures” have been well documented by the television exposes on Mr. Hinn, not to mention the research done by the Trinity Foundation and Personal Freedom Outreach.

8. King, Patricia, The Voice of the Prophetic, The Clash of Kingdoms by Patricia King, Oct. 2006, p.9 Underlining added for emphasis.

9. Ibid. p. 35 Underlining added.

10. The whole aspect of spiritual warfare as taught by Wagner, Jacobs and others is nothing but an attempt to justify their own theological views of Kingdom Now.

11. McGill, Cindy, The Voice of the Prophetic. Eye Has Not Seen, Nor Ear Heard the Veil to the Glory Realm in Getting Thinner, Oct. 2006, p. 23. Underlining added.

12. Ibid, p. 27. Underlining added.

13. John Wimber who died at age 65. John Wimber said that he picked up a “Chinese cancer spirit” while visiting China. Apparently he and his elders lacked the miracle working power and could not either cast out this cancer spirit or bind it up. Eventually he succumbed to it. This, sad as anyone’s death is, has always stuck me as rather strange, especially in light of the fact that he also penned a book entitled Power Healing!

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The Next “New” Move?

1 09 2009

Truth Matters Newsletters – June 2006 – Vol. 11 Issue 6 – “The Next “New” Move? By Robert S. Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

The Next “New” Move?

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In the May issue of Truth Matters I took the readers through a brief look at what happened to the leaders of the last revival referred to as “The Toronto Blessing” or “The Pensacola Outpouring.” I also stressed the reality of how most sign-gift believers and Pentecostal people are on a continual pilgrimage seeking to become a part of the current move of the holy Spirit.

Once the last so-called revival (Holy Laughter/Sign & Wonders) died out and most of the initial leaders either got booted out of their pulpits or left when the people and money dried up. This left millions of people wondering “what is the next move of the Spirit?” I felt like screaming “EUREKA I’VE FOUND IT”! In the June 2006 issue of Charisma magazine, I believe I have discovered what some “big hitters” are calling the next movement which they claim redefines what Church is. The tag line of the article reads as follows:

“Who said Christians have to meet in a traditional building with a pulpit? Innovative Christians today are Redefining Church.”

On page 32 of Charisma it reads, God is Out of the Box,” introducing this new and exciting ministry trend simply called the house church. Basically what this means is that certain people, usually disillusioned with their former congregational life and their position in it, have left the traditional church and banded together in small groups that meet in homes. Let me cite from the beginning of the article:

Not everyone at her home church follows Christ, including her husband, a disillusioned former church member….who accepted Christ in 1978, but quickly faded away from a church she found cold and formal….’I didn’t want to participate in what I saw going on in the name of Christ, ‘ Weger says of her shunning of traditional congregations for more than 25 years. (1)

It is immediately evident that Weger’s initial concept of the Church was faulty. It is not about her it is about the worship of Jesus! It is obvious from the following statement that in her mind her needs were not being met.

Years ago when Weger was hurting and collapsed in tears at her old church, she says several leaders walked by without speaking [to her]. (2)

Understand that Weger is a sign-gift person, so the church she attended years ago was undoubtedly a charismatic congregation where, and I speak from personal patoral experience, it was not at all an uncommon sight to see people weeping before, during and after services. Did these “several” leaders even see her? Were they involved in a discussion among themselves as they passed? Was weeping a common occurrence in that congregation? Did she follow up this possible slight by going to any of these leaders and ask for an explanation, telling them that they had offended her?

Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. Matthew 18:15

I am sure that she did not, she simply took the offense as a sign that her church was cold formal and uncaring. Like many little kids, she took her “ball and went home and started her own church. How do I know this is what happened? To begin with she does not share in the article that she followed the simple biblical pattern for conflict resolution. Secondly, in my varied positions of over twenty three years in congregational leadership I have yet to see but a handful of Christians enact the Matthew 18:15 principle. It is easier to run to the pastor and “tattle” on someone who has seemingly wronged you, or tell a “prayer partner” which somehow sanctifies the gossip.

Allow Me to Digress A moment

I am off topic here but this is vitally important to all our spiritual lives. When you have been offended by someone then in obedience to Christ’s own command go to that person first. Nine times out of ten you will learn that the person who “hurt” you was not even aware that her or she did do. Often you will learn that it was not their intention to hurt you (I know from some comments on sermons I’ve delivered). In fact, you may even discover that you were wrong in feeling hurt in the first place and that it is you who ought to be asking forgiveness from the one you are addressing. Or, if the person was indeed in the wrong then he or she should say they are sorry and ask your forgiveness. If this does not happen then our Master lays out the next steps to be taken. For the life of me I do not know why people do not follow this simple commandment. At least 90% of the problems within the life of any congregation would be squelched if this was followed. Instead people go to others first, then like the old telephone game by the time the message reaches the accused offending party it is totally overblown. What is the result of such behavior?

Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God: lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled: Hebrews 12:15

People get offended and simply ignore or refuse to work with the “accused” in community life. (3) More times than not people leave that congregation and take their unhealed wounds to another place of worship and often cause problems in the new congregation due to past unresolved issues.

End of Digression

Weger is totally against traditional churches and seems to have a low opinion of those who still remain “in the box.”

Ironically, today Weger says the hardest people to discuss Jesus’ love with are traditional church members. (4)

Obviously not everyone who attends Church is a genuine Christian, yet the Bible clearly states the following:

But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 1 Corinthians 2:14

She gives no further clarification of her statement, but she is implying that either non-Christians or the new breed of house church folk are easier to discuss the love of Christ with! Non-Christians cannot understand biblical truth, so how can Christians be harder to talk to about the One who saved them? As for me, this certainly has not been my experience in talking about Jesus to my brothers and sisters.

Grandiose claims are being made for these small independent house churches. The Charisma article goes as far to declare it as an actual movement called the “house-church movement” (as if we need another movement). Here is the next tag line for the article:

The Revolution now upon us is a complete paradigm shift, taking us back to the time of Christ. It is going to be a lot bigger than the Reformation” James Rutz, author of Megashift

Oh really? Casting off all traditional orthodox structure, having no biblically trained pastors and sitting around in small disaffected groups singing Kumbaya is going to be bigger than the Evangelical Reformation? I sincerely doubt it, Charisma magazine doesn’t:

Judging by the house-church movement that is exploding across North America, Weger’s story can be repeated millions of times. (5)

What is the basis for the claim of “millions” of house-church groups in America today? Enter “big hitter” number one, George Barna. Mr. Barna is best known for his poll taking and statistical data is the source for deeming this an “exploding” movement:

Christian demographer George Barna estimates 8 percent to 9 percent of adults in the United States—22 million to 24 million people—are now involved in some form of house church. (6)

Anyone who has ever taken a class on statistics knows how inaccurate the results can be. I’m willing to wager that no one reading this newsletter was polled. I know we were not asked. I wonder where he gets his data, or is it as he says an “estimate.” It should come as no surprise that Mr. Barna himself has left traditional Christianity and is part of this so-called house-church movement.

In the minds of these people they see the Church as a failure. A common expression I used to hear is “it isn’t working anymore,” the “it” being the Church. Whenever you hear comments like that, or, “we need to do things a new way,” don’t blithely accept those comments. Instead, challenge them. Ask the individual to define what is not working? How do you measure success? I know in America success means bigger numbers and better stuff, we often call that growth. There is a HUGE difference between numerical and spiritual growth my brothers and sisters. What is the “new way?” Is the role of the Church to conform to a fallen society’s ever-changing mode (what I call dumbing-down) or are we called to be salt (see Matt 5:13) and light (see Matt. 5:14) and by God’s grace change society?

The next “big hitter” who surely recognizes a move of the Holy Spirit when he sees it is John Arnott:

John Arnott, former senior pastor of Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship says, If we are going to reach the world for Jesus, we need a completely new model of ‘doing church,’ Arnott wrote in the most recent issue of House2House magazine. (7)

Arnott must one day stand before God and give account for facilitating the deception of millions of people who flocked to TACF to obtain the “new wine” that was allegedly being poured out. When the wine stopped flowing, it seems that Mr. Arnott had to get going…somewhere else. Now he is an advocate for the house-church movement. I guess he can only find a handful of people willing to follow him at this point.

Another significant player in this latest fad is Neil Cole, a church planter for the Grace Brethren denomination. He has started at least 700 of these house-churches.

After leaving his traditional pulpit seven years ago to launch a church in a coffeehouse, Cole says the network that sprang up from that effort soon led to Christians meeting every day of the week in Long Beach. (8)

Latte and a lectionary (opps, they don’t know what one is), or how about espresso and a short exhortation, maybe some java and jubilation? Cole goes on to reveal his heart in the following statement:

I think the most significant breakthrough is the concept that Christians can hear and obey God without an established leader telling them what to do…We have removed a lot of filters between God’s people and God’s voice. (9)

God speaks to us only through His Word, and so it is true that all Christians can “hear” God through His Word and without a doubt all Christians should obey what God says in His Word. The great danger I see in this movement is that of the blind leading the blind. There are rules for interpreting the Bible, it is called hermeneutics.

Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation   2 Peter 1:20

Faulty biblical interpretation has led to the creation of every Bible-based cult, sect and aberrant group in the world. All of the heresies today, all of the biblical errors being taught and all of the false practices stem from an initial improper interpretation of the scriptures.

What filters have been removed? I assume the role of an educated pastor and biblically trained elders. In Cole’s mind what is keeping God’s people from true communion with God is the leadership He Himself has ordained. The sad reality is that Christian people still have to deal with their own sinful flesh and this flesh abhors being told what to do by anybody, including God. Just tell your teenager to please clean up his or her bedroom! It is so much easier when we do not really have any authority over us to listen to and obey. So the house-church movement is very appealing to people who want no one to have any spiritual oversight in their lives. Yet God’s Word says:

Obey them that have the rule over you and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give an account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you. Hebrews 13:17

Yes I know there are limits to our obedience; we obey our leaders inasmuch as they are preaching the true Gospel. That is a given. But recognize that we are to obey and we are to submit ourselves to pastoral leadership. This is not the case in the house-church movement because they have no recognized leaders per se. These house-church groups say they are based on Acts 2 and 1 Corinthians 14:26:

Felicity says the typical format in their network in an Acts 2 style of fellowship–breaking of bread, prayer and praise and worship…Many house-churches offer women an opportunity for full participation in congregational life. (10)

Acts 2 is indeed a historical reality, but nowhere are we told that it is the pattern for how church is to be done.  To begin with in Acts 2 the original (genuine) Apostles were the leaders. Those who were converted came and listened to their teachings (maybe Cole would consider them a filter between God and His people). It was a time of “come as you are an say what you will.” The Apostles taught and made disciples educating them doctrinally. They were raising up leaders to go and lead others in the true Christian faith. Another group in Canada says:

We try to [follow] 1 Corinthians 14:26, which says everyone brings a word [or] prophecy, says Zdero, who wrote a book on the global house-church movement two years ago. ‘Our house-church meetings are like spiritual potlucks, where everyone brings something. (11)

On the surface, apart from the context of 1 Cor. 14 Zdero would seem to be following a biblical pattern for how a church service is to be run. The Apostle Paul is addressing the abuses and carnality of the Corinthians and how their “services” had devolved into self-edification versus the building up of all the people. Naturally both Dale and Zdero do not mention Paul’s admonition in the same letter in which he commends the women to be silent (see 1 Cor. 14:34)!

I have been apart of countless home Bible studies, which in general were great times of fellowship. I have also seen what happens without properly educated leaders and everyone brings out their own subjective interpretation of a text, or shares a dream they think God gave them, or utters an alleged word of prophecy from the Lord. It is nothing but chaos, which is why the Apostle Paul was teaching them on how to bridle in some excess enthusiasm.

As with all excesses the first thing to get tossed aside is the objective truths of the Bible. “Doctrine divideshas long been the cry of the charismatic movement. To which I have responded ‘you bet your sweet bippy it does it is supposed to!” According to Cole he is seeing a melding of various Protestant and charismatic people within house-churches:

He says he has never seen such a strong blending of multiple backgrounds in advancing God’s kingdom. Despite often being divided in the past, both groups must bring their strengths and weaknesses to the table in the house-church movement and acknowledge that their agreements are more important then their issues, Cole says. (12)

In other words, doctrinal issues are divisive and thus doctrinal truth which separates people is deemed unimportant. What is deemed more important than doctrinal truth is whatever can be agreed upon by the diverse group. Ergo, subjective group-think replaces doctrinal foundations. The following adage is true for the house church movement—”If you don’t stand for something you will fall for anything.” In these groups there can be no agreement on the meaning or method of water baptism, there cannot be agreement on the meaning of the Lord’s Supper. What can they agree about? Even something as seemingly simple as “we believe Jesus Christ is Lord” is fraught with thunderous doctrinal implications. A Modalist heretic, like T.D. Jakes will declare Jesus is Lord, but does not acknowledge the reality of the Trinity. Even simple statements of belief have at their core doctrinal significance. On the other hand if one is willing to never dig deeper beyond the “God-talk” and get to the meaning and import of the statements made, then one can be happy in such a group. I will coin a new term:

“SHALLOWNESS SELLS  ©

How did this movement start to get traction? That depends on who you ask. I believe the independent spirit and anti-denominational teachings fostered by the Latter Rain movement of the 1940’s had a great deal to do with it. I also believe the lack of feeling connected in the mega-churches led many people to feel like nothing more than a number. Out of 30,000+ members, how many does Joel Osteen know personally? Even in a congregation of 1,000 how many people can actually get time to talk to their pastor? These huge mega-churches try to meet the need of feeling personally connected by having home groups. These home groups undoubtedly led many of the leaders to think “humm, I can do this on my own, apart from the mother church.” Thus man’s natural fallen tendency towards independence and the lack of a true sense of belonging hae gone a long way in forging this house-church movement.

Ken Walker, author of the Charisma article is honest enough to expose the most dangerous inherent weakness within this movement; one that I believe in the long run will send these people back to the stability of traditional orthodox Christianity. Here Walker quotes Jacobsen who supports this movement with reservations:

Likewise, one glaring weakness of house churches is that many are governed by authoritarian leaders. Often there are leaders who couldn’t ‘cut it’ in a traditional church, so they form a group to follow in a smaller setting, Jacobsen says. (14)

Regardless of the setting, someone will rise to leadership. As Walker astutely points out often these leaders were deemed unfit to lead within an orthodox setting. Jacobsen further states:

I would say a lot of house-churches are incredibly unhealthy. They’re led by people who have their ego all twisted up. If it’s manipulative, the smaller the environment the more dangerous it is. (15)

A tremendous amount of spiritual abuse can and does occur in these small group settings. People who join come with the attitude that the traditional church has failed and can easily be led into a “siege” mentality where ‘their little group’ are the only true Christians. Kreider, another semi-proponent of house-churches admits the following:

In the past, Kreider says, house church movement is reactionary towards the traditional orthodox Christian Church. These groups are most often formed by wounded and hurt people who are dysfunctional to some degree. The depth of their dysfunction will determine the level of control or spiritual abuse within their group. Isolated?  Without doubt, there is no one to appeal to beyond the little house-church and its members. This movement is based totally on being independent from organized historic Christianity. That is their whole intention, to do their own thing, in their own way without having to submit to any spiritual authority. Heresy? Well technically heresy really deals with Christology, its more accurate to say faulty biblical interpretation and false doctrines of one sort or another will abound in these groups, since everyone can share their own understanding of the biblical texts.

Discernment Ministries International encounters many Christians who have been sexually abused by church leaders, others who’ve been taken advantage of financially and others who are simply disgusted with the foolishness they heard being taught and practiced. These people have told us that they no longer attend any church and are not planning to go back. They explain that they love Jesus Christ, read His Word, pray and support mission outreaches (like DMI in some cases).

Brothers and sisters if there was ever anyone who had more than enough reasons to throw up his hands and walk away from the “church” it would be me. I can fully empathize with those who have been deeply wounded. I even support taking some time away from church to allow the Holy Spirit to work through God’s Word to begin the healing process, but that process will never come to completion until you get connected back into a solid biblically based congregation.

Staying away from congregational life is simply burying your God-given talents that God gave you to bless your brothers and sisters; not to mention the rich blessings that come from receiving the unique fragrance of Christ that all His sheep emanate.

Let me close by saying there is no perfect church in this life. Some are much better than others and I urge anyone who does not have a local church to not give up. Begin to visit congregations, ask the leaders hard questions, talk to the members and see what (if anything) the Lord is doing in their midst. I am so glad that we did not give up on the church and are happily ensconced in a Traditional confessional Evangelical congregation. Is it a perfect church? Nope. But the people are sincere, the doctrine and practice is as biblical as it gets and our leaders are men of integrity. God ordained the creation of the Church, Jesus is still the Head of the Body of Christ and the Spirit of grace is still working through the proclamation of the Gospel (from pulpits) and sacraments.

And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works; Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhort one another; and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. Hebrews 10:24-25  ♦

Copyright © Robert S. Liichow

 

End Notes:

1. Charisma,  God is Out of the Box,  June 2006, p. 53. Underlining and bold type aded for emphasis.

2. Ibid

3. In one church I was preaching at one women fell out with another sister, both of whom headed committees and neither one spoke to one another for over a year. Yet they came to church regularly, served on their committees which ceased to work together as they previously had done. In short, it was a very ugly mess.

4. Charisma, God is Out of the Box,  2006, p. 53. Underlining and bold type added for emphasis.

5. Ibid p. 54 Underlining added.

6. Ibid. p. 54 Underlining added.

7. Ibid. p. 54

8. Ibid. p. 54 Underlining added.

9. Ibid p. 54 Underlining added.

10. Ibid p. 56 Felicity is “Felicity Dale” a wife of a house-church group in England and author of several books on this topic.

11. Ibid. p. 56

12. Ibid p. 58. Underlining added.

13. The problem with the home group/mini-churches is that they are run by lay people with little to no theological training. They did have a spirit of hospitality which I applaud. At the mega-church my family attended the home groups were organized around felt-needs. There were really no “restrictions” on what group members attended. When a member had a problem or issue they were in theory to go to their home group leader for help since they would probably not get a meeting with one of the several pastors on staff. That’s fine if your home group leader had the capacity to help. In our experience we noted that problems cropped up occasionally when a group would veer off course and teach things our church did not agree with. Each group had more or less autonomy in what they studied. It might have been more effective if these groups simply all focused on the prior sermon and how to apply it to their lives.

14. Charisma, God is Out of the Box, June 2006. P. 60. Underlining and bold type added for emphasis

15. Ibid. p. 60

16. Ibid. p.60 Underlining added.





The “New Wine” Hangover

24 08 2009

Truth Matters Newsletters – May 2006 – Vol. 11 Issue 4 – The “New Wine” Hangover – by Robert S. Liichow

Discernment Ministries Internationalscangoosedrunk0001

The “New Wine” Hangover

I thought after considering the hundredth anniversary of Azusa Street enthusiasm that it would be appropriate to look into the current state of the Signs & wonders revival in our own day. One constant characteristic of Pentecostalism is the belief that God is continually doing a “new thing” in the Church. The trick is to find out what it is and get involved with it. Pentecostal folks are in a continual state of flux. (1) From 1906 until around 1910 Pentecostals believed that the Azusa experience was the final fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy and Jesus was due back anytime. The Azusa revival only lasted about three years and then it die out, although its concepts were spread far and wide.

For forty years Pentecostal folks looked back fondly to Azusa and sought the Lord to “do it again.” Then the Post World War II healing “revival” and inauguration of the New Order of the Latter Rain began around 1946. Whereas Azusa alleged to give people the gift of tongues, this new move showed forth great healing and deliverance power along with the restoration of prophets and apostles. These restored prophets & apostles claimed to have the ability to impart supernatural power to their followers. This was seen as the last great worldwide-soul-saving move of the Spirit heralding the imminent return of our Lord. (2) This revival also lasted only about four or five years. Both the Azusa revival and the Healing revival spawned many sects founded on a wide variety of aberrant doctrines. Another approximately forty years later, according to Bill Hamon (3)  that “God” restored the Prophetic Movement back to the Church. According to Hamon, the Prophetic established a platform for the Apostolic Movement to be birthed in the early 1990’s which lead up to the most recent explosion of delusion via a man named Rodney Howard Browne, RHB), aka God’s “Bartender.”

Rodney Howard Browne  (RHB) was originally from South Africa and he came to the United States in 1987. (4) In 1988, the new wine began to be poured out by God’s bartender:

From January 1988, they traveled across America for fifteen months, all the time praying that God would pour out His spirit upon His people and that they would have a supernatural encounter with the Holy Spirit that they would never forget. In the sixteenth month, April 1989, the glory of God was poured out in a Tuesday morning service in a church in upstate New York, beginning a revival that continued to this day. That week, hundreds of people were dramatically touched and changed by the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit and since then, hundreds of thousands of people, around the world, have experienced the life changing power of God. (5)

According to RHB he was preaching on hell one evening in New York City and “suddenly” people began to laugh uncontrollably. The harder he preached about the dangers of eternal damnation the more people began to laugh.

Rodney Howard-Browne reported: “One night I was preaching on hell, and laughter just hit the whole place. The more I told the people what hell was like, the more they laughed.” The Holy Ghost…might have you do something that no one’s ever done before, and he might have you do something that’s totally unique. But don’t question, and don’t argue, and don’t ask, and don’t try to devise and to plan it out but just follow the prompting of the leading of the Spirit of God and oh, great and wonderful things shall be done, for God will move in diverse ways and with diverse anointing in these last days. (6)

RHB interpreted this response to being the work of the Holy Spirit. (7) Naturally, one wonders why people began to laugh during the proclamation of such a serious topic. I am firmly convinced that anything that stops or hinders the preaching of God’s Holy Word must be attributed to sinful flesh or demonic activity. Whenever I read or hear reports that say “Oh the Spirit was moving so strongly that we did not even get to the preaching,” (which is commonly reported in these revival meetings) then I know that it was certainly not the working of God’s Spirit. The Holy Spirit uses the preaching of the Word of God to convict sinners and draw them to faith in Christ:

Romans 10:14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?

God uses the foolishness of preaching (and sometimes foolish preachers) to reach the lost:

1 Corinthians 1:21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.

RHB and all the other charismatic extremists look for God’s power to be something outside of the Word of God Itself. To them God’s power is some form of amorphous, tangible energy which can be transmitted from one person to another totally apart from the Word of God being proclaimed. Yet the Bible plainly teaches us in the following text:

Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

RHB’s big break did not come for almost another five years when he spoke at a large and influential charismatic congregation in Florida:

In the spring of 1993, Karl Strader, pastor of Carpenter’s Church in Lakeland, Florida, invited him to preach. Scheduled for a one-week appearance, he was carried over for three more weeks. Since the services were broadcast on radio, many people began showing up at Carpenter’s Church to experience what they heard on the air. (8)

The Carpenter’s Church in Florida is the home congregation of Mr. Strang, who owns Strang Communication, which publishes Charisma Magazine. While he preached there, people began to laugh again, this time RHB encouraged the people to let go and let God pour the new wine of the Holy Spirit into their parched souls. Word spread rapidly, all the way from Florida to Tulsa’s “City of Faith,” aka Oral Roberts University and Oral and Richard Roberts flew over to see for themselves what the latest stirring of the waters was. Both Oral and Richard got soused with new wine from Joel’s Bar. (9) and immediately invited RHB to come back with them to the Maybee Center and hold revival meetings there. Richard Roberts documented this experience, including his own reception of “holy laughter” on video tape which can still be purchased through their website.

Rodney Howard Browne at ORU –  Oral Roberts and Richard Roberts

It was the meetings in Tulsa that rocketed RHB to fame & Fortune and man of the charismatic glitterati came to the meetings to receive the latest work of the Spirit, including Charles and Francis Hunter aka, the “Happy Hunters” who went on the write a book and this latest outpouring of the Spirit entitled, “Holy Laughter.” (10)

The Hunters also brag: “The Spirit of God is swiftly moving in breathtaking and sometimes startling new ways, and people of every tongue and every nation are letting out what is on the inside of them…they are running at a fast pace to ‘Joel’s Bar’ where the drinks are free and there is no hangover!…one of today’s signs ‘in the earth beneath’ is the ‘holy laughter’ which is supernaturally overcoming people in services all over the world!” (11)

Do not lose the mindset of Pentecostalism; by this I mean the continual search for God’s power apart from His Word. It has been almost forty years since the massive ministry machines of the roving healing evangelists and now, via RHB, God was pouring something completely new and available to the average sign-seeking believer. Was this really the “new thing,” possibly the “last thing” Pentecostals had been seeking? Was this the sign that God was performing before the return of Jesus? High profile Pentecostal leaders didn’t want to get caught high-and dry if it was, so they began to chase the spiritual carrot on the stick RHB was dangling before their eyes. If the revival did not spread, they’d suffered no loss, they got their Gospel giggles. However, if it took off, then they could claim to be part of a historic spiritual event.

Word spread throughout American Pentecostalism while RHB was working his shtick at Oral’s conference center. In 1993, one pastor, who by his own admission, was on the verge of spiritual burnout, and suffering from depression was encouraged to make his pilgrimage down to Tulsa and receive this new anointing. (12) This pastor was Randy Clark, who led the Vineyard congregation in St. Louis, MO. Initially Mr. Clark was reluctant to go because he was not open to the Word of Faith movement being part of John Wimber’s Vineyard sect. (13) He ended up attending RHB’s meetings and after having RHB lay his hands on him many times Mr. Clark “received” the new wine and took this highly exportable experience back to his Vineyard Congregation. This new experience caused many sign-seekers in St. Louis to flock to his church. Remember the cardinal rule: If anything causes people to coe to your church then it is a good thing. With the injection of this unbiblical phenomenon into his sagging congregation Clark became the “go-to” guy for Vineyard congregations. This sudden growth in Clark’s congregation caused another Vineyard pastor, John Arnott to contact Clark and ask him to come up to Toronto and hold a series of meetings to help pump some life into his small congregation.

Randy came to Toronto and “imparted” the new wine to Arnott, his leaders and congregation members. From there, word began to spread about the new thing the Lord was doing in Toronto. Many people have wondered why the so-called “holy laughter revival” took off at this small church versus remaining centered around RHB. Part of the reason could be that the Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship (TACF) was located near a large international airport and the Vineyard sect had many congregations across America and overseas. Whatever the reason, this much is sure what stared out from RHB quickly became know as the “Toronto Blessing.”

Tens of Thousands of people made their pilgrimage to TACF to receive the latest experience and take back to their own congregations, commonly referred to as spreading the fire due to highly contagious nature of these manifestations. Arnott quickly cast himself in the role of one who was pasturing the revival. One of the earliest countries affected by the latest outbreak of spiritual enthusiasm was England, Holy Trinity in Brompton to be specific. It was at Holy Trinity Church that a young American Assemblies of God evangelist received the Toronto blessing, his name was Steve Hill.

Steve Hill left England and came to an Assembly of God church in Brownsville, Florida that was being led by a pastor John Kilpatrick. On June 18, 1995, Steve Hill got up to preach his Father’s Day message and “revival” broke out in Brownsville AOG! Well at least that was what Kilpatrick and Hill wanted people to believe, I.e. that a spontaneous and sovereign move of the Holy Spirit had broken forth at Brownsville. The TRUTH of the matter is that prior to Hill’s arrival Kilpatrick’s wife and many leaders from Brownsville went to TACF to acquire the fire. (14) They showed videos to those who could not take time to Pilgrimage to TACF. In short, they primed the pump and built up the people’s expectations before Hill cscanhorsecarrot0001ame on the scene. When Hill arrived the “Lord” began to pour out His new wine.

True to form, over a million sign-seekers traversed land and sea, chasing the charismatic carrot-on-the-stick to get to Brownsville. Many had already been to Tulsa, then to Toronto and now to Brownsville. The same sort of thing happened forty years earlier when the healing hucksters roamed the nations. A.A. Allen would come to town, people would flock to his meetings for a touch from God’s man of the hour. Then Jack Coe would come next month, the same people would run to Coe’s meetings, from there to Oral Roberts tent when we came through. Always seeking and never receiving the thing promised (the proverbial carrot on the stick). This is nothing new, Jesus had to deal with sign-seekers in His ministry as well. Here is what our Master had to say;

Matthew 12:39 But he answered and said unto them, An evil and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign; and there shall no sign be given to it, but the sign of the prophet Jonas:

In reality this so-called latest outpouring has been anything but spontaneous or sovereign on God’s part. The manifestations proved to be highly transmittable, or the sign-seeking people seem to be highly suggestible in being willing to believe something divine is being given to them. The following flow chart demonstrates the human chain of transmission regarding the Holy Laughter revival aka the Toronto Blessing aka The Brownsville Outpouring:

The Unbroken Chain of HUMAN Transmission of the “New Wine”

Δ

Rodney Howard Brown

The Carpenter’s Church

Then to Oral & Richard Roberts, ORU Convention Center

Randy Clark gets the blessing

Taken it to St. Louis

Randy then goes to Toronto Airport Christian Church (TACF)

                                                                                           ↓

John Arnott, Leader of TACF hypes it to the Charismatic world

Holy Trinity Brompton Bestows blessing to Steve Hill

Steve Hill takes it to Brownsville/Pensacola, Florida AOG church

Brownsville promotes the new experience to over a million people

All these leaders end up leaving their ministries within 5 years

Revival over, dead in the water, fini!

Millions of sign-seekers left with nothing but spiritual ennui & they are praying desperately to learn what the next “move” of God will be!

Stay Tuned Campers!

scandemonsofstupidity0001

The experience in Toronto and Brownsville were never equated as the same type of revival by both sets of leaders. The Toronto Blessing seemed to appeal more to the various charismatic sects, whereas the Pensacola Outpouring was initially geared towards attracting the classic Pentecostal denominations, beginning with the Assembly of God Rodney Howard Brown never spoke nor imparted anything at either church during their simultaneous moves of the Spirit. There are at least two reasons why RHB never was invited to participate in these massive meetings: (1) the leaders at TAFC & BAG wanted to keep the illusion that what was taking place in their midst was a sovereign move of the Holy Spirit and (2) neither group fully embraced many of the concepts espoused by the Word of Faith movement of which RHB was a member. I have thoroughly examined this so-called revival from start to finish and there are simply no accounts of “holy laughter” simply breaking out in congregations. Every instance I know of, which is quite a few of them, these manifestations were brought into congregations by leaders or individuals who received an “impartation” at some other vortex of delusion.

From about 1995 to 2000 both groups (and many other smaller congregations) tried to keep the revival fire stoked with everything from holding spiritual drunkards conferences, (15) reports of God filling peoples teeth with gold and platinum, reports of diamonds and precious stones appearing in various sanctuaries and even reports of angels feathers being found after worship!

However, as with the Azusa meetings, the Healing revival, the Catholic charismatic renewal movement and lastly the Holy Laughter revival…the enthusiasm died down and a great emptiness filled the lives of millions of sign-seekers. This sense of lack is what I refer to as a spiritual hangover. The “party” was over, uncontrollable laughing, hopping up and down and falling into cataleptic trances on the floor (aka doing “carpet time”) was passé. Like a junkie experiencing withdrawal the sign-seeker was left asking “where is the next high”?

What about the leaders of this move of God? They were and are responsible for all the bold claims they made to millions regarding the fad they were promoting. They claimed people needed to come to their centers and receive what God was currently doing. And come they did, often at great personal expense and they left with their impartations of new wine and took them back to their home congregations. From our research virtually every congregation that embraced this delusion ended up in a church split. (16)

John Arnott more or less abdicated his role at TACF, he is still there, but he is busy these days trying to discern what the next “big” thing is via a para-church ministry sponsored by TACF. TACF is back down to a small church size, gone are the thousands of daily visitors from around the world.

John Kilpatrick? Oh, he moved on (or was moved out) from serving as Pastor at the Brownsville Assembly of God church. Once the hoopla that he touted ended, so did his role as pastor. Kilpatrick now heads up “John Kilpatrick Ministries and will be opening an independent church called “the Church of His Presence,” in AL. (17)

Steve Hill? Well old stevie was the first to bail out from BAG when he quickly noticed that the “cloud had moved on.” His job was done, he’d fleeced all the pockets he could and it was time to take the money and run. Today Hill has turned in his “evangelist” hat and has opted to pastor an independent church called “Heartland Fellowship Church” located in Texas. (18)

Lindel Cooley, the highly “anointed” music/worship leader at Brownsville, he took off right after Mr. Hill and now operates “Music Missions International.” On his website he declares that the Brownsville revival is the longest running revival in American history, which is simply a lie. (19) What of the father of this current strain of insanity, Mr. Rodney Howard Brown? RHB, although the man who can rightly claim to be the initiator of the enthusiasm, quickly became a bit-player and faded from prominence. He too dropped the evangelist role and decided to become a pastor. Currently he is the head of “The River Church” another independent congregation. By the way, he continually refers to himself as “Doctor” RHB. This too is a lie. He received a doctorate from the School of Bible Theology in San Jacinto, CA. This is a diploma mill. Not only were the manifestations he foisted upon millions spurious, his own educational and some of his ministerial background is equally fallacious.

I close this article out by simply asking — what good fruit came from this revival?” None that I can discern. At worst, millions of people were duped into accepting possible demonic activity into their lives and at best people simply emptied their minds and gave themselves over to fleshly indulgence disguised as the work of the Spirit.  Churches were split, lifelong friendships and more then a few marriages were destroyed.

All those who ran to TACF or BAG are left today wondering what the next “great” thing will be. Many are disenchanted with Church and church leaders. Especially when it became well publicized how wealthy Arnott, Kilpatrick, Hill, Cooley and others became due to the revival.

What can we learn from past and this most recent “revival”? Keeping in mind that all the Pentecostal revivals have at their root a belief in restoration within the Church it must be stated that Jesus Christ is still Head of the Church, which is His body (read Eph. 5:23). God’s plan for His people has continued since He conceived it. Fallen humanity and all the demons of hell cannot detour what God has ordained. Christ Jesus has lost nothing pertaining to His Body (read John 6:39).

There is not one genuine spiritual benefit to the Church from any of these revivals from Azusa to this current time. All of the people who laughed uncontrollably are not any more sanctified today than prior to their fits of laughing. The thousands who spent hours in catatonic paralytic fits on sanctuary floors are no more “powerful” in Christ today than prior to their temporary psychotic breaks with normal reality. No great biblical insights were granted to any of the so-called restored apostles or prophets due to these meetings. No further true unity (20) was developed and sustained due to the revival. Upon close examination the Toronto Blessing and Pensacola outpouring were much a due about nothing.

Probably the most important lesson that can be gleaned from this most recent example of excess is that need for the people of God to look to the Holy Scriptures alone and find in them all they need to give a godly and spiritually prosperous life. There is no such thing as a spiritual “quick fix” {unless you are a spiritual jukie, seeking the next high}. Spiritual maturity takes a lifetime, no one can mystically impart it to you anymore than someone can make you a prophet by laying their hands on you. It is an honorable desire to want to be used of our Lord in a mighty way. Sadly, many think “mighty” means becoming the next charismatic superstar, when in our Lord’s eyes being mighty may be serving as a faithful janitor in your local church. Those who are running hither-thither and yon after the anointing, sincere as they may be, are probably some of the least productive people in the Kingdom. I end by saying grow where you are planted, be faithful in promoting God’s work, attend Bible study, share your faith at home and work, prey for your bothers and sisters…This will not only make you a vessel of honor, but will also keep you from ever-suffering from a spiritual hangover! ♦

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Copyright © 2006  Robert S. Liichow

End Notes

1. I am using “Pentecostal” in the article to refer to all the branches of this aspect of religion. It includes the entire charismatic movement (yes, I know there is a difference between classic Pentecostalism and charismatic groups), i.e. the Word of Faith, Prophetic, Apostolic, Signs and Wonders and basic run-of-the-mill sign gift sects.

2. Let me be clear in stating that I believe in the imminent return of Christ for His Church. He could come before you finish this issue. I do not predicate my belief on anything I see going on in the Church, or the world, simply on His promise in the Bible.

3. Bill Hamon is a false prophet and prolific writer. He holds traveling school’s where one can learn to be a prophet of the Lord. He is the product of a Latter Rain sect and he has been trumpeting their aberrant doctrine for 20+ years now.

4. Obtained from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rodney_Howard_Browne.

5. Obtained from http://www.revival.com/www/r.asp?p=11, RHB’s official website.

6. Burns, Cathy. Unholy Laughter Part One

7. A similar occurrence transpired at the Vineyard Church led by the late John Wimber. A meeting was taking place, people began to laugh uncontrollably so Wimber, who was no stranger to odd manifestations, had the laughing people brought forward and he and his leaders attempted to cast the “demons” out of these people. When they failed in the deliverance attempts, Wimber declared that what was taking place was of the Holy Spirit since they were powerless to stop the laughing.

8 Obtained from http://www.rapidnet.com/~jbeard/bdm/Psychology/holylaugh.htm.

9. RHB became know as “God’s Bartender” and he referred to this novel experience (at least in our time) as getting drunk at Joel’s Bar, a reference to the prophecy in Joel which has been repeatedly re-fulfilled by every enthusiastic movement since the true Pentecost in the Book of Acts.

10. Hunter, Charles and Francis, Holy Laughter, Hunter Publishing, 1994.

11. Tarkowski, Ed. The Laughing Phenomena: From South Africa to St. Louis to Toronto to Your Church (Part 1), The Christian Conscience (February 1995, Vol. 1 No. 2) p. 25. Bold type added.

12. Obtained from http://www.geocites.com/heartland/plains/4948/vine3is5.html.

13. It is important to keep in mind that a few years back (80’s and 90’s) there was little agreement between the various Pentecostal/charismatic camps. Shepherding folks did not buy into Word of Faith concepts. Classic Pentecostal denominations did not believe that most non-traditional Pentecostal people had the genuine “Holy Ghost.” Wimber’s Vineyard was a bit of a melting pot of Later Rain/Prophetic/Signs and Wonders, but in general was not into the name-it-and-claim-it people. It was not until recently, post Holy Laughter phenomena, that all of these groups are coalescing into a miasma of error.

14. Cathy Wood, a member of the Brownsville Revival, has written many articles proclaiming the link between the two movements. She and many other Brownsville Revival members attribute the coming of revival to the visits that the pastor’s wife and the worship leader, Lindel Cooley, paid to the Toronto Blessing. Many of the members felt that the anointing that both had received from the Toronto Blessing provided them with the spirit of revival to bring back to Brownsville ( http://ww.pen.net/~crow/proof.html ) Evangelist Steve Hill also met Sandy Miller, the pastor at the Trinity Brompton Anglican Church in London, where manifestations are also occurring. He was refreshed by Sandy Miller beore he came to Brownsville and began the revival. In his church now almost identical manifestations are taking place. (http://crash.ihug.co.nz/pensa.html) Obtained from http://religiousmovements.lib.virginia.edu/nrms/Brownsv.html

15. My wife and I personally observed one such conference at TACF where the people came from all over the world to receive the new wine to such an extent that it paralleled physical drunkenness. The same type of thing was promoted at BAG as well.

16. I have documented this in our book “Fruit Proof” which is filled with eyewitness accounts from various charismatic and Pentecostal people caught up in the madness. This book is offered in this month’s issue.

17. Obtained from http://www.partnersinrevival.org/index.htm.

18. See his web site at http://www.heartlandfamily.com/

19. http://www.mmi-inc.com/discography.htm.

20. I say “true unity” because biblical unity is based only upon agreement with the Word of God.





Azusa’s 100th Anniversary (The Truth Behind the Hype)

19 08 2009

Truth Matters Newsletters – April 2006 – Vol. 11 Issue 4 – Azusa’s 100th Anniversary – by Robert S. Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

Azusa’s 100th Anniversary (The Truth Behind the Hype)

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I want to add a few comments before getting into the heart of this article because I am aware that we have new readers each month that may not be as familiar with my background as some of our more seasoned readers. I was raised as a child in a Christian home by godly parents and was baptized a member of the United Presbyterian Church. Years later when I was at the University of Michigan, having wandered away from Father’s house like the prodigal son, I came into contact with a charismatic community called “The Word of God Community” (WOG). (1) WOG offered a six week course called “Life in the Spirit” and at the end of the lessons, hands were laid on the participants they were supposed to receive their heavenly prayer language, i.e. begin to speak in other tongues. I underwent the training and became a member of the Pentecostal Church of God. I left that very small congregation and joined a new group on campus led by a man who had just graduated from Rhema Bible Training Center called Greater Faith Christian Center. It was there that I met my wife and became part of the Word of Faith movement, leaving behind the Discipleship movement and classic Pentecostalism. Without going into a lot more detail, my wife and I ended up participating in the Prophetic movement which sort of “morphed into the Apostolic movement and at the very end before our doctrinal deliverance, the Signs and Wonders move. I say all this, to simply alert the reader that I am not writing about something I have not personally seen, heard, experienced and unfortunately, taught to others. I write this article from both an experiential point-of-view as well as a researched position.

100 Years of Revival?

This April is the celebration of the so-called “Azusa Street Revival” which is traditionally considered the official beginning of Pentecostalism in the United States.

The very word “Azusa” conjures up nothing but positive images in the minds of virtually all Pentecostal/charismatic believers. To them, it was a time of a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit as was experienced in the Book of Acts. The “proof” of this outpouring was the evidence of seekers beginning to speak in what was termed other tongues. (2) Supernatural gifts long dormant in the Church were being imparted and restored. It was a time of worldwide evangelism and divine healing and miracles. The emphasis behind the evangelism was the belief that Jesus Christ was very quickly going to return and rapture the Church. Thus He needed to again supernaturally equip His saints to go into the entire world and preach the Gospel. Azusa was fertile soil from which many “famous” Pentecostal ministries were birthed.

This is what I called the “hype” surrounding the Azusa experience. Yet nothing happens in a vacuum. People did not suddenly begin to speak in tongues, prophesy, sing in other tongues, dance in the spirit, slain in the spirit, etc…due to some sovereign move of God at Azusa. There was over 100 years of “priming the pump” before the alleged outpouring at Azusa street occurred.

Some Historical Background Prior to Azusa

The first thing to always keep in mind when thinking about any Pentecostal or charismatic group is that they are at the core restorationalistic in their belief system. This simply means they believe the Church at some point lost its spiritual bearings and power and God has had to “restore” the supernatural gifts (tongues, prophesy, miracles, etc) and spiritual direction (now through restored prophets and apostles) back to the Church in order to bring Her to a state purity where the Lord can return for Her. The basic text cited is:

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

The mindset was and still is that God must send times of refreshing, i.e. revival to the Church. At some point the “big” revival will occur during which time God will restore everything lost to the Church and then Jesus can come for His Bride. Many groups prior to the Azusa experience claimed to be chosen ones to be used to restore the Church and bring back Jesus.

The Shaker Cult, America’s first Pentecostals

Ann Lee, the Founder of the United Society of Believers came to America in 1772 (a little over 130 years prior to Azusa). I have detailed their aberrant beliefs in my book “The Two Roots of Today’s Revival, of which we still have a few copies left. The Shakers were the first group in America to speak in other tongues, prophesy, sing in other tongues, manifest holy laughter, be slain in the spirit, dance in the spirit, shake, and become drunk in the spirit. All of this is fully detailed in my book and many places on the Internet. They believed they were the true Church and were very evangelistic due to believing the end of times was upon the world and also because they taught strict celibacy so numerical growth had to come from inducting new members into the cult.

The Cane Ridge “Revival”

Started around 1801 (just shy of 100 years before Azusa) as a gathering of Methodist, Presbyterian and Baptist preachers who gathered to preach to the unconverted. Shaker evangelists also came to these meetings and brought with them their manifestations (the same ones we see in charismatic congregations today). The end result was that the Shakers imparted their gifts to many at the meetings and even gained some converts from Christian churches! Here are a few citations of the pandemonium brought on by the manifestations:

The first was held at Cabin-Creek. It began on the 22nd of May, and continued four days and three nights. The scene was awful beyond description; the falling, crying out, praying, exhorting, singing, shouting & exhibited such new and striking evidences of a supernatural power, that few, if any could escape without being affected. Such as tried to run from it, were frequently struck on the way, or impelled by some alarming signal to return, but there were moreover in the schismatic worship, a species of exercises of an involuntary kind, which seemed to have been substituted by the Great Spirit, in the room of the falling, &c. which had been among the New-Light. The principal of these, were the rolling exercise, the jerks, and the barks.

Still more demeaning and mortifying were the jerks. Nothing in nature could better represent this strange and unaccountable operation, than for one to goad another, alternately on every side, with a piece of red hot iron. The exercise commonly began in the head which would fly backward and forward, and from side to side, with a quick jolt, which the person would naturally labor to suppress, but in vain: and the more any one laboured to stay himself and be sober, the more he staggered, and the more rapidly his twitches increased. He must necessarily go as he was stimulated, whether with a violent dash on the ground and bounce from place to place like a foot-ball, or hop round with head, limbs and trunk, twitching and jolting in every direction, as if they must inevitably fly asunder. (3)

What these few examples tell us is that the people involved at Cane Ridge were overtaken by paranormal manifestations which included making animal noises (sound familiar?), jerking, spontaneous and uncontrollable physical movements along with spiritual drunkenness! All such manifestations were common to the Shaker cult and as I have been contending, this cult brought them into the religious gathering.

The end result of this revival? Schism and division occurred among true Christians. Ungodly manifestations were brought in by enthusiasts and the non-Christian Shaker cult. The defection of some former Christian pastors to join the Shaker cult. Many of the “holiness” denominations have their roots back at the Cane Ridge meetings. The holiness movement was another precursor to what was to become known as Pentecostalism. Some of these groups taught that there were various baptisms one must undergo with the goal of achieving sinless perfection. Some groups spoke in tongues, others practiced divine healing. All of this was transpiring almost 100 years before Azusa in the United States. Overseas other groups that predated Azusa were also active and laying groundwork for the Azusa experience.

Edward Irving, Founder of the Catholic Apostolic Church

IRVING

In 1831 Irving began to establish his own denomination (which still exists today) after being excommunicated as a heretic by the London Presbyterian Church. Irving, like all the other schismatic’s and cults of his time, was a firm believer in the need for the sign-gifts to be restored to the Church in order for Christ to return:

Irving’s study of the Bible had also convinced him that all Christians should be baptized in the Holy Spirit and as evidence they would speak in tongues. There should also be prophecies and healings. (The general view was that these outward signs of power had ceased after the death of the apostles and the baptism was now limited to the inward gift of sanctification and fruitfulness.) During 1830 there were claims that people in the west of Scotland were manifesting these signs. After careful investigation, Irving was convinced they were genuine and that this was the start of the final outpouring of the Holy Spirit before the return of Jesus Christ.

Irving was particularly interested in prophecy. He predicted there would be a widespread outpouring of the Holy Spirit and that the Jews would return to their own land. These have both happened in the first half of this century. Irving thought it would be much sooner. He believed the Millennium would commence in 1867. For many people, his prophecies convinced them he was a “crank.”

Irving not only believed in Divine healing but also that sickness came as a consequence of sin. Three of his four children died at an early age. Irving had believed God would heal them but then decided it was judgment for his sin. (4)

Irving ordained twelve men to serve as restored “apostles” in his new sect, although he himself was not one of these men, nor was he viewed as a prophet. What convinced Irving that the gift of tongues had indeed been restored is when he investigated reports concerning two sisters who lived in Scotland:

There had been a legend that the spiritual gifts of earlier days would reassert themselves before the end, and here apparently was the forgotten gift of tongues coming back into the experience of mankind. It had begun in 1830 on the western side of Scotland, where the names of the sensitives, Campbell and MacDonald, spoke of that Celtic blood which has always been more alive to spiritual influences than the heavier Teutonic strain. The Albury Prophets were much exercised in their minds, and an emissary was sent from Mr. Irving’s church to investigate and report. He found that the matter was very real. The people were of good repute, one of them, indeed, a woman whose character could best be described as saintly. The strange tongues in which they both talked broke out at intervals, and the manifestation was accompanied by healing miracles and other signs of power. Clearly it was no fraud or pretence, but a real influx of some strange force which carried one back to apostolic times. The faithful waited eagerly for further developments….These were not long in coming, and they broke out in Irving’s own church. It was in July, 1831, that it was rumored that certain members of the congregation had been seized in this strange way in their own homes, and discreet exhibitions were held in the vestry and other secluded places. The pastor and his advisers were much puzzled as to whether a more public demonstration should be tolerated….The sounds came from both women and men, and consisted in the first instance of unintelligible noises which were either mere gibberish, or some entirely unknown language. “Sudden, doleful, and unintelligible sounds,” says one witness. “There was a force and fullness of sound,” said another description, “of which the delicate female organs would seem incapable.” “It burst forth with an astounding and terrible crash,” says a third. Many however, were greatly impressed by these sounds, and among them was Irving himself. (5)

Irving himself never spoke in other tongues, yet he did endorse and promote the experience. He and his sect were on the forefront of pre-millenarianism which later became part-and-parcel of American Pentecostalism. Like all of the others, Irving was firmly convinced that the manifestation of the original sign-gifts was proof that the return of Christ was at hand. His date setting proved false as did various prophetic utterances within his sect Later Pentecostals would have done well to learn from Edwards mistakes.

John Alexander Dowie, Founder of Zion, IL.

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Dowie was educated in Edinburgh, Scotland and began his first pastorate in Australia in 1872 where he served over a Congregationalist church. While serving as a pastor disease hit his congregation and many of his members died. This drove Dowie to seek God concerning divine healing:

And there I sat with sorrow bowed head for my afflicted people, until the bitter tears came to relieve my burning heart. Then I prayed for some message, and oh, how I longed to hear some words from Him who wept and sorrowed for the suffering long ago, the Man of Sorrows an Sympathies. And then the words of the Holy Ghost inspired in Acts 10:38 stood before me all radiant with light, revealing Satan as the defiler and Christ as the Healer. My tears were wiped away, my heart was strong, I saw the way of healing, and the door thereto was opened wide, and so I said, ‘God help me now to preach that word to all the dying round, and tell them how ‘tis Satan still defiles, and Jesus still delivers, for He is just the same today. (6)

Dowie began to travel around the world proclaiming that Jesus Christ is the Healer. His aspect of “restoration” can be summed up with the view of divine healing power being given back to the Church, especially through him. Eventually Dowie ended up in America preaching from coast to coast. While in Chicago he was deemed a fraud and a fake and was told to leave the city. In 1895 he founded an organization called “The Christian Catholic Church,” and eventually purchased land outside of Chicago where he began to build his version of the Kingdom of God on earth, know as Zion City.” His sycophants began to tell him that he was indeed Elijah who was to appear before the return of Christ. He began to believe their lies and shortly after proclaiming himself to be Elijah he suffered a massive stroke in 1906 and died in 1907. Many prominent Pentecostal leaders would come from Zion City, finding their way to the Azusa meetings. I guess with the death of “Elijah” it seemed pretty obvious to many people that the pillar of fire and cloud had moved on, this time to Los Angeles, CA.

The Keswick Movement, Total Sanctification Now!

This movement also had its roots in England and was also known as the “Higher Life” movement. It dates vary from as early as 1858 to as late as 1870, still a good 30 years prior to Azusa. Their main emphasis was the belief in a definite experience or work of grace they called “sanctification.”

The main idea of the Higher Life movement is that the Christian should move on from his initial conversion experience to also experience a second work of God in his life. This work of God is called “entire sanctification,” “the second blessing,” “the second touch,” “being filled with the Holy Spirit,” and various other terms. Higher Life teachers promoted the idea that Christians who had received this blessing from God could live a more holy, that is less sinful or even a sinless life. This teaching has its roots in John Wesley’s doctrine of Christian perfection. (7)

The importance of the Keswick Movement upon American Pentecostalism was the strong belief in a distinct experiential second work of the Holy Spirit in a believer’s life. Without obtaining this experience, then the Christian could not progress on into deeper levels of godliness.

Pearsall Smith (1827-98) and Hanna Whitall Smith (1832 – 1911). This married couple became prominent higher life teachers who widened the popularity of Boardman’s teaching throughout Britain. The higher life movement reached it’s culmination through the labors of the Smiths. Out of their efforts in the early years of the fourth quarter of the nineteenth century grew the great Keswick Movement. The Smith’s “higher life meetings and conferences did much to set the pattern for the Keswick Movement. Their emphasis arose as the result of their own entry into deeper spiritual experiences.” Mrs. Pearsall Smith’s own account reveals that she was seized with wonder as to why spiritual victory was always out of reach. She finally identified the problem. She had stopped with the blessed truth of justification, but hadn’t gone on to the twin truth of sanctification by faith. She then learned that victory was by faith and “that there was an experience called the ‘second blessing,’ which brought one into a place of victory.  (8)

The reason why this specific movement was influential to fledgling Pentecostalism was because it was based on two concepts: (1) If there could be a “second blessing” or gift of grace from the Holy Spirit who had to say that blessing was sanctification? Also, if there could be a second blessing, why not a third or forth endowment with Holy Ghost power/fire/gifts/anointing? (2) It was based on individuals having a direct tangible experience. Early Pentecostalism and today’s charismatic groups are all extremely experiential in every respect.

The Welsh “Revival”

Wales has a history of revivalism but the one that most people are familiar with is the brief pre-Azusa revival of 1904-1906. The most prominent leader of this revival was a young man named Evans Roberts. Although he intended to attend school and obtain theological training he found himself at the beginnings of a massive outbreak of spiritual enthusiasm:

After his three months training at Newcastle Emlyn he was to return to Casllwchwr to start his ministry. He is said to have direct visions from the Holy Spirit; very specific visions such as the number 100,000 representing the souls God is to use him to save. As the revival unfolded Evan Roberts is said to depend more and ,more on what he considered the guiding of the Holy Spirit, thus neglecting the authority of the Scriptures. (9)

Roberts never obtained his theological education and as the citation notes, he depended more on what he considered the “guiding” of the Holy Spirit than the Scriptures. The revival meetings that Roberts held also included strange paranormal manifestations. These outbursts became so pronounced in the meetings that Roberts left the revival in disgust. Once he left his leadership role the revival sputtered out. After departing from what he saw as demonic activity in the meetings he worked on a book with another Welsh sister named Jessie Penn-Lewis. The book they wrote is titled War on the Saints. This book is in reprint, but if someone wants to purchase a copy I advise them to make sure and buy an unabridged version and not the redacted one that is most common. I would also put out a word of warning concerning Jessie Penn-Lewis, she herself was probably mentally unstable and most certainly theologically ignorant herself, however, what I find fascinating in her book is the portion where she and Roberts deal with how Satan counterfeit’s the genuine working of the Holy Spirit. As far as that portion of the book goes, she is “spot on” in my opinion. (10)

According to the revival reports 100,000 people are supposed to have come to know the Lord Jesus Christ. The revival was well publicized to such an extent that what was transpiring in Wales was well known among the holiness movement in America. The “revival” in Wales with its attending signs and wonders only further whetted the spiritual appetites of American restorationalists.

Expectancy of revival intensified in Los Angeles, California, when believers there heard about the remarkable revival in Wales, where from September 1904 to June 1905, 100,000 people were converted to Christ. For the evangelicals around the world who had been praying for the outpouring of the latter rain of the Spirit as promoted by the Old Testament prophet Joel (2:23-29), the spectacular results in Wales suggested that the great end-times revival had begun. The world could now be evangelized in the power of the Spirit before the imminent return of Christ and the impending judgment on the wicked. (11)

The underlined portion of this citation regarding the Welsh revival is exactly the theological position of American holiness preachers. They already believed and had experienced a “second blessing” from the Holy Spirit and it seemed to them that there was more power to be obtained from God, and, in fact, necessary to receive in order to evangelize the world before the return of Christ. This brings us back to the United States and the “father” of American Pentecostalism, Mr. Charles Fox Parham.

Without the Work of Mr. Parham there is good chance that Pentecostalism as we know it today would not have come into existence. The Azusa meetings were not started by Parham and he really had very little to do with those meetings in person. The Azusa experience and the subsequent development of American Pentecostalism can genuinely be considered the “child” of “father” Parham’s labor. However, like any parent, he or she bears some responsibility for the actions of their children. Accordingly, it behooves us to take some time and look at Mr. Parham and his ministry before we can even begin to consider what occurred a few years later at 312 Azusa Street in Los Angeles, CA.

Charles F. Parham, Father of American Pentecostalism

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To state that Mr. Parham was a man with a very checkered background is putting it mildly, Parham started out in the Methodist/holiness movement and became a preacher around the age of 14 or 15 (the Bible warns us about the danger of placing a novice in leadership positions, see  1 Tim 3:6).

Charles was converted in 1886 when he attended evangelistic meetings at a local Congregational church; a “Damascus road” experience that changed the direction of his life. Shortly afterward, Parham began attending a Methodist church where he taught Sunday school. At age 15, he began conducting revival services on his own. To further prepare himself for ministry, in 1890, he enrolled at Southwest Kansas College in Winfield. While a student, Parham “backslid” and decided to become a medical doctor. But following another bout with rheumatic fever, he recommitted himself to the ministry. Returning to evangelistic work, he obtained a minister’s license from the Southwest Kansas Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, North….Parham’s relationship with his Methodist superiors became tense. His ambiguous attitude toward denominational affiliation did not warm their hearts. More importantly, Parham’s adoption of Wesleyan “holiness” theology with its crisis experience of sanctification branded him as a troublemaker. Holiness preachers declared that following conversion, believers should seek for this “second blessing” to purge the Adamic nature from their hearts. To Methodist leaders, this smacked of doctrinal aberration…At the annual Southwest Kansas district conference in 1895, Parham surrendered his license to preach and “left denominationalism forever.” Denouncing Methodism as spiritually bankrupt, he had a “world-wide parish,” free of the confines of a pastorate, with a lot of theater-going, card-playing, wine-drinking, fashionable, unconverted Methodists.” Though freedom from denominational restraints offered Parham the liberty he desired, it brought new problems, uncertainties, and hardships. (11)

What we can see in Parham’s life is that he never received a solid biblical education which left him susceptible to aberrant beliefs. One major belief he was the fountainhead of was the idea that denominations were basically not of God and that churches should be independent groups without any real structural leadership. This concept was trumpeted by William Branham and those who followed him as a prophet during the late 1940’s. The desire to destroy all denominational distinctions lives on today in the prophetic/apostolic movements.

Parham’s issues with the Methodist Church went far beyond just a young man chaffing under the spiritual oversight of others. Parham believed several heretical concepts including:

Parham, the founder of Pentecostalism, was riddled with doctrinal heresies. He believed in annihilation of the unsaved and denied the Bible doctrine of eternal torment. He taught that there were two separate creations, and that Adam and Eve were of a different race than people who allegedly lived outside of the Garden of Eden. The first race of men did not have souls, he claimed, and this race of unsoiled people was destroyed in the flood. Parham believed that those who received the latter days spirit baptism and spoke in tongues would make up the bride of Christ and would have a special place of authority at Christ’s return. He believed in a partial rapture composed of tongues speakers. Parham believed that physical healing is the Christian’s birthright. (13)

As far as research can determine he never recanted any of these beliefs. His aberrant beliefs concerning divine healing became part of the original doctrine of what is known today as the Church of God in Christ, one of the largest Pentecostal denominations (sorry Charles) in the world:

In spite of his teaching that it was always God’s will to heal and that medicine and doctors must be shunned, one of Parham’s sons died at age 16 of a sickness which was not healed. In October 1904 a nine-year-old girl named Nettie Smith died. Her father was an avid follower of Parham and refused medical treatment for his daughter. Nettie’s death turned local public opinion against Parham because the little girl’s sickness was treatable and the community therefore considered her death unnecessary. Parham himself suffered various sicknesses throughout his life and at times was too sick to preach or travel. For example, he spent the entire winter of 1904-05 sick and bedridden (James Goff r., Fields White Unto Harvest, p. 94), in spite of his own preaching that healing is guaranteed in the atonement. Parham was the first Pentecostal preacher to pray over handkerchiefs and mail them to those who desired his ministrations (Goff, p. 104) (14)

Do his beliefs strike a familiar ring with any of our former charismatic readers? The Word of Faith cult teaches it is always God’s will to heal. Dr. Hobart Freeman (now deceased) also taught the shunning of medicine; this only cost him close to 100 deaths in his congregation in northern Indiana, the location of his church “the Glory Barn.” To this day various sign-gift sects teach against using medicine or going to doctors. It can all be traced back to Parham. However, Goff is wrong in his comments about Parham being the “first Pentecostal preacher” to pray over handkerchiefs. The first Pentecostal” in America to use handkerchiefs for healing purposes was none other than Joseph Smith, the first restored prophet to the restored Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. (15) Again, to this day it is in Mormon doctrine that their Bishops can have the ability to speak in other tongues, and obviously the Mormon Church believes in restored prophets. (16) Keep in mind that the Mormon cult was founded in 1830, 76 years before the Azusa experience.

Parham’s main claim to fame comes from his “Bible” school which was located in Topeka, Kansas:

In plush surroundings at the former Stone mansion outside of Topeka, Kansas, the first Pentecostal revival of the century began on January 1, 1901. This revival would give rise to the most dynamic force for evangelism and missions in modern times.

The elegant setting, however, meant little to the band of 40 students of the Bethel Bible School that the 27-year-old Charles F. Parham had begun 3 months earlier in these rented facilities. Convinced that God had commissioned them as missionaries in the “last days,” they gathered to pray for the promised “latter rain” outpouring of the Holy Spirit (Joel 2:23,28,29), to acquire the same spiritual power that marked the expansion of the Early Church. In this intense atmosphere of expectancy on New Year’s Day, student Agnes N. Ozman became the first to receive the sign of Spirit baptism: speaking in tongues. “Thus was the Church militant again permitted to receive the Baptism of the Holy Spirit,” mused Parham. With the great end-times revival beginning and the army of harvesters prepared for the mission fields, the clouds would soon part and “the Lord himself…descend from heaven” (1 Thessalonians 4:16). (17)

Parham had been teaching his students that they should expect the Lord to give them supernatural power to evangelize the world. The manner in which they would know that they had received this baptism of power (just as with the Holiness belief in a secondary experience) would be the evidence/experience of speaking in other tongues.

In the fall of 1900, after leading his students through a series of Bible studies on repentance; justification by faith, sanctification, and healing, Parham instructed them on Spirit baptism. By the end of December, they were prepared to encounter Acts 2 in a new way. After the revival commenced on New Year’s Day, he announced that the students had spoken many languages. He himself had received the capability of preaching in German and Swedish, Agnes Ozman in “Chinese,” and others in a variety of languages including Japanese, Hungarian, Syrian, Hindi, and Spanish. Parham noted that “cloven tongues of fire” appeared over the heads of speakers. Sometimes interpretations followed such as “God is love,: Jesus is mighty to save,” and “Jesus is ready to hear.” (18)

During the formative years of Pentecostalism in America Pentecostal people believed that speaking in other tongues was a genuine language not some “angelic” tongue or private ecstatic speech as sign-gift people teach today. There is no independent proof that Agnes Ozaman, Parham or anyone else actually received the biblical gift of other languages. In 1905 Parham moved his school and students to Houston, Texas which is where the “Azusa” connection is finally made.

seymour

One of Parham’s students was a man named William J. Seymour, who can be considered the father of the Azusa experience. He was a black man and thus Parham would not allow Seymour to sit in the classroom, he had to sit in the hallway and listen through the door. It is worth noting that Mr. Parham was a racist and officially joined the KKK in 1910. (19) Nonetheless Seymour endured the humiliation. Seymour’s source for doctrinal education was a heretic, which explains why he too would later expound heretical concepts:

Seymour accepted Parham’s view of baptism in the Holy Spirit—the belief that in every instance, God would give intelligible languages—speaking in tongues to believers for missionary evangelism…Neeley Terry, an African-American and member of the new congregation led by Hutchinson in Los Angeles, visited Houston in 1905 and was impressed when she heard Seymour preach. Returning home, she recommended him to Hutchinson, since the church was seeking a pastor. As a result, Seymour accepted the invitation to shepherd the small flock. With some financial assistance from Parham, he traveled by train westward and arrived in Los Angeles in February 1906. (20)

Seymour, like Parham came from a holiness background and so was used to experiential religion. The Holiness view was that the “second blessing” of sanctification was the baptism in the Holy Spirit. Parham’s view was that the baptism in the Holy Spirit was proved by having the gift of tongues. All Pentecostal groups today hold to this belief. Back in 1906 such a concept was not well received among many Holiness groups:

Seymour immediately encountered resistance when just 2 days after arriving he began preaching to his new congregation that speaking in tongues was the Bible evidence of baptism in the Holy Spirit. On the following Sunday, March 4, he returned to the mission and found that Hutchinson had padlocked the door. Condemnation also came from the Holiness Church Association of Southern California with which the church had affiliation. (21)

seymour1

The congregation Seymour came to Pastor locked him out of the church building and this forced Seymour to take his “new message” regarding the baptism in the Holy Spirit elsewhere. Seymour stayed at a parishioner’s home and led Bible studies there regarding the “Pentecostal” baptism. After a short while several people began to speak in tongues. News of this spread through both the white and black holiness communities and many of their members began to pray to receive this new outpouring of the Holy Spirit (according to their paradigm). The crowds grew to a size where Seymour had to relocate. The group rented a former African Methodist Episcopal (AMI) building relocated at 312 Azusa Street Los Angeles, Ca. This address had become synonymous with the birth of American Pentecostalism.

Seymour called his organization the “Apostolic Faith” and for a couple of years published a sporadic newsletter under the same name. People began to hear of what was taking place on Azusa street and came seeking to receive the Pentecostal blessing with the evidence of speaking with tongues.

scanApostolicnewspaper0001

Most who visited the mission came to receive the empowerment of Spirit baptism and be equipped with intelligible new languages for gospel preaching overseas. This would enable them to bypass the nuisance of formal language study. The Apostolic Faith reported: “God is solving the missionary problem, sending out new-tongued missionaries on the apostolic faith line, without purse or scrip, and the Lord is going before them preparing the way.” Missionaries home on furloughs also attended and spoke in tongues and in a few instances identified the languages being spoken. The recipients, however, usually depended on the Lord to identify the languages they had received. (22).

People began to come to Azusa as word spread. There was the common belief that the return of Christ was imminent due to various millennial and rapture doctrines being propagated by various sects within the Church. It seemed logical to many people who already believed in subsequent distinct spiritual experiences apart from regeneration that God would once again restore the gift of other tongues to equip the saints for the last big world-wide missionary push.

African-Americans, Latinos, whites, and others prayed and sang together, creating a dimension of spiritual unity and equality, almost unprecedented for the time. It allowed men, women, and children to celebrate their unity in Christ and participate as led by the Spirit. Indeed, so unusual was the mixture of blacks and whites, that Bartleman enthusiastically exclaimed, “The color line was washed away in the blood.” He meant that in the sanctifying work of the Spirit, the sin of racial prejudice had been removed by the cleansing blood of Jesus Christ. (23)

Admittedly, it was unique for that time for a black man (and black women) to be laying hands on white men and women to receive healing and blessings. It was virtually unknown within the Church in America for a black man, Seymour, to be leading white men and women spiritually. The sad thing is that this sense of “unity” lasted only a short time and within 3 years racism reared its ugly head and along with various false doctrines divided the fledgling Pentecostal movement.

The “hype” concerning Azusa was that untold numbers of people were coming to Los Angeles to receive power from on high. The people were all in one accord and hundreds if not thousands were sent forth around the world to reap the end time harvest. God was working signs, wonders and miracles on a regular basis at Azusa and testimonies were pouring in from their missionaries from around the world. (24)

The “truth” concerning these meetings tells another story altogether. The revival meetings were not Spirit-led, nor were things being done decently and in order. William Seymour, for whatever reasons had virtually lost control over the meetings, who spoke, who attended and what transpired under his oversight.

The meetings began in the mornings and continued for at least 12 hours. There was no order of services and usually no one leading. People sang at the same time but “with completely different syllables, rhythms, and melodies” (Ted Olsen, “American Pentecost,” Christian History, Issue 58, 1998). The services were characterized by much confusion: dancing, jumping, up and down, falling, trances, slaying in the spirit, “tongues” jerking, hysteria, strange noises, and “holy laughterOne visitor described the meetings as ‘wild, hysterical demonstrations.” The seekers would be seized with a strange spell and commence a jibberish of sounds.” A Time reporter noted that the participants “work themselves into a state of mad excitement in their peculiar zeal.” There was little or no order to the Azusa Street services. Whoever felt “moved by the spirit” to speak, would do so. Seymour rarely preached. Instead, much of the time he kept his head covered in an empty packing crate behind the pulpit. He taught the people to cry out to God and demand sanctification, the baptism with the Holy Ghost, and divine healing (Synan, p. 99) (25)

Due to all of the chaos in the meetings Seymour wrote Charles Parham to please come to Azusa (he had not yet been to any of these meetings) and see if he could help establish order and decorum.

Seymour wrote several letters to Parham asking advice in dealing with spiritualists and mediums from occult societies, who were trying to conduct séances in the services. And the church publicly admitted that not everyone at the meetings felt the presence of the Spirit. (26)

Seymour wrote Parham who was visiting John A. Dowie at Zion, IL. Parham did make his way to Azusa street and the following are some of his impressions of what he saw taking place:

When Parham visited the meetings in October 1906, even he was shocked by the confusion of the services. He was dismayed by the “awful fits and spasms” of the “holy rollers and hypnotists.” He described the Azusa “tongues” as “chattering, jabbering and sputtering, speaking no language at all” (Synan, p. 102). The Azusa Street meetings were so wild that Parham condemned them with the term “Sensational Holy Rollers.” He testified that the Azusa Street meetings were largely characterized by manifestations of the flesh, spiritualistic controls, and the practice of hypnotism (Sarah Parham, The Life of Charles F. Parham, Joplin, MO: Tri-state Printing, 1930, p. 163). According to Parham, two-thirds of the people professing Pentecostalism in his day “are either hypnotized or spook driven (Parham, Life of Charles Parham, p. 164). In his writings about Azusa Street, Parham described men and women falling on one another in a morally compromising manner…When Parham arrived in Azusa Street in 1906, he began his first sermon by telling the people that “God is sick at his stomach” because of the things which were occurring at Azusa (Charles Shumway, A Study of the “Gift of Tongues,” A.B. thesis, University of California, 1914, pp. 178,179; cited by Goff, Fields White Unto Harvest, p. 131). He never changed his opinion. To the end of his life, Parham, often called “the father of Pentecostalism,” denounced Azusa Street as a case of “spiritual power prostituted.” Thus the “father of Pentecostalism” roundly rejected the Azusa Street meetings as phony, manipulated, and demonic, even though practically all Pentecostal denominations trace their heritage directly from those meetings! (27)

Parham was adamant that Seymour remove the spiritualists and occultists from the services. Seymour refused to remove anyone from the services citing that our Lord said to His worker to let the tares and wheat grow together and that at the end of the age they will be separated. The result of Parham’s visit was the first of countless “splits” within Pentecostalism. Parham and Seymour never ministered together again, nor were they ever reconciled. Parham was not the only person to denounce what was taking place in the Azusa meetings. (28) Here are some comments made by leading theologians of their day:

G. Campbell Morgan  described the Azusa Street activities as “the last vomit of Satan” H.A. Ironside said both the holiness and Pentecostal movements were “disgusting, delusions and insanities.” In 1912 he said of their meetings “pandemonium’s where exhibitions worthy of a madhouse or a collection of howling dervishes,” were causing a “heavy toll of lunacy and infidelity.” W.B. Godbey said of the Azusa Street participants “Satan’s preachers, jugglers, necromancers, enchanters, magicians, and all sorts of mendicants,” and he claimed the movement was the result of spiritualism. Clarence Larkin “But the conduct of those possessed, in which they fall to the ground and writhe in contortions, causing disarrangement’s of the clothing and disgraceful scenes, is more a characteristic of demon possession, than a work of the Holy Spirit. From what has been said we see that we are living in “Perilous Times,” and that all about us are “Seducing Spirits,” and that they will become more active as the Dispensation draws to its close, and that we must exert the greatest car lest we be led astray. (29)

The truth behind the Azusa meetings is that they were far less anointed than many Pentecostal and charismatic revisionists want the world to believe. People have a tendency to only remember the “good times” and forget about all the nastiness in life, and the Azusa meetings are proof of this tendency.

After the incident with Parham, Seymour’s own racist and sectarian attitudes came forth:

Along with the success, hurts and heartaches soon came to Azusa Street, Seymour and the faithful learned to expect criticism from newspapers and leaders of other churches–including the founder of the Pentecostal Church of the Nazarene, P.F. Breese, who believed that Holiness people were already baptized in the Holy Spirit and that the Azusa tongues were not from God. But some of the harshest criticism came from inside the little mission, with the mother church splitting because of personality clashes, fanaticism, doctrinal differences, and racial separation. It was said that some whites left because the blacks had a lock on the leadership. Seymour proving that he was no more perfect than his critics, reportedly asked the Hispanics to leave, and later wrote by-laws that prevented anyone except African-Americans from holding office in the mission. The often-quoted line that “the color line was washed away in the blood” was true in practice for only a short time. (30)

Bartleman’s earlier exclamation “the color line was washed away in the blood” although theologically true, proved to be no more than excited ignorance when push came to shove in these meetings. As far as “race” was concerned the two earliest predominant Pentecostal denominations, i.e. The Assemblies of God in Christ (lily white) and The Church of God in Christ (African-American) formed specifically due to ethnicity versus doctrinal distinctions.

Building on the assumption that Azusa Street represents the moment in classical Pentecostalism’s past from which to chart decension, some have gone on to accuse the Assemblies of God of fostering racial division by separating in 1914 from the church of God in Christ. This line of reasoning celebrates the roles of black leaders and organizations in the formative stages of American Pentecostalism displaces Charles Parham, the white leader of the Topeka, Kansas, Pentecostal outpouring of 1901, with William Seymour, the black leader of Azusa Street; and maintains that at least since 1914 a steady process of white separation and domination has been under way. (31)

Actual confession and repentance of racism between these two denominations did not occur until 1994, almost 90 years after the Azusa “revival.” So much for the ‘love of God being shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost” (see Rom. 5:5).

Apart from the ensuing splits, during the revival meetings themselves a great deal of error was taught and then disseminated around the world. Some of the errors included the belief that people were supernaturally being given other tongues, actual foreign languages (xenolalia) and when Seymour or whoever at the meetings told the individuals what language they had been given, these folks often went to that nation as missionaries. The results were often tragic because when the people got to their destination, often at great expense, they learned they did not really speak the indigenous tongue at all. This brought reproach on the Gospel, because those claiming to represent Christ were (and were no doubt sincere in their attempt) ended up looking very foolish. There is simply no independent evidence that anyone who received the “baptism” at Azusa ever spoke in a genuine foreign language on the missionary field.

Another error with dreadful results was Seymour’s stance on divine healing, which he learned from Parham. He forbade people to go to medical doctors or to use medicine. The aberrant reasoning behind this belief in that Parham and others taught that physical healing was part of the atoning work of Christ on the cross. Thus to go to doctors or use medicine was to deny the finished work of Christ (in their minds). Obviously, this resulted in countless deaths and much suffering.

The belief that Jesus Christ was retuning soon is the main reason people came to Azusa, they wanted Holy Ghost power to go preach the Gospel and “get” as many people saved as they could. As noble as their intentions were, they were predicated on a wrongheaded belief regarding the return of Christ. Various dates were given for His return, all of which failed to come to pass. One hundred years have now passed and Jesus has not yet returned.

The belief that there is a subsequent “infilling” or baptism with the Holy Spirit after salvation is erroneous. When anyone is converted they have the Spirit at that moment (See 1 Cor. 12:13) and all Christians are sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise (See Eph. 4:30). The revivalists took Acts 2 to be normative for all Christians. They taught (and do teach) that all 120 people including the Apostles received the gifts of the Spirit on the Day of Pentecost. Yet a careful reading of the text will prove that only the Apostles received the Spirit in such a dramatic manner. Furthermore, throughout the Book of Acts it is only the Apostles who are ever involved with imparting spiritual gifts, never lay people. Pentecostals must teach it was all 120 people because if they accept the biblical evidence of only the Apostles as stewards of the Spirit, if you will, then they know they are dead in the water. Acts 2 is not normative and the prophecy of Joel was fulfilled on that day. The Apostle Peter said “this is that “ (see Acts 2:16) and nothing in the Scriptures indicate that this experience is to be repeated time and time again 9as many neo-Montanist groups have been claiming over the last 2,000 years).

Apart from the fact that no real foreign languages were bestowed, there were also manifestations of occulist practices such as automatic writing and the ability to suddenly play musical instruments:

Also present among the alleged miracles was the not uncommon occult practice of “automatic writing” which, if we may recall, was practiced on occasion by the Irvingities, at Shiloh, and by Agnes Ozman. Also present among the “miraculous manifestations” was another phenomenon directly related to occult mediumship, the ability to play musical instruments without any prior musical training or perceived ability: The Lord has given the gift of writing in unknown languages, also the gift of playing on instruments. (The Apostolic Faith edition 1) Azusa Street was undoubtedly the vehicle for the propagation of this occult method of mediumism, and it proliferated far and wide, thanks, no doubt, to the international acclaim that the “revival” had by now acquired: “I am still talking and writing in tongues. A missionary interpreted what I have been writing in Syriac and Armenian. I was singing Chinese one night, a missionary said. I am busy every day and going from place to place. Strong opposition from many, but God gives the victory, Glory!” Andrew G. Johnson, Address, 48 Skofde, Sweden (ibid, edition 6) “I received the Holy Ghost in San Jose, in November, and came to Kelseyville, in December. And when I received the January paper and read what the Lord was doing in other places, the power of God came on me mightily. I was alone and was lifted to my feet and stood on tiptoe with both arms extended above my head, and began to speak in tongues and to interpret, which I never had done before except a very little. Since I came here, one lady has received the Holy Ghost with a tongue, also the gift of writing some unknown language and the deaf mute signs.” (ibid, 6) “One sister received the gift of writing and also the interpretation of her languages. She has spoken and interpreted the soon coming of Jesus.” – Elizabeth M. May, Whittier, Cal. (ibid,6) (32)

Brothers and sisters, the belief in being able to “write in tongues’ is nothing less than demonic deception. There is no such gift ever cited in the entire Bible! Yet it was commonly believed that people possessed this ability. For some strange reason we do not have any of these “writings” available to us today in order that they might be linguistically examined.

The Azusa “revival” lasted for only three years. Yet from this initial “root” of American Pentecostalism various forms of poisonous fruit have been borne over the years. For example, in spite of all the proclamation of how these “restored” gifts were uniting the Body of Christ, exactly the opposite occurred. One of the more egregious heresies to be spawned from Azusa was the restoration of the age old heresy of Modalism:

A more serious schism grew out of the “oneness’ or “Jesus only” controversy, which began in 1911 in Los Angeles. Led by Glen Cook and Frank Ewart, this movement rejected the teaching of the Trinity and taught that Jesus Christ was at the same time Father, Son, and Holy Spirit and that the only biblical mode of water baptism was administered in Jesus’ name and then was valid only if accompanied with glossolalia. This movement spread rapidly in the infant Assemblies of God after 1914 and resulted in a schism in 1916, which later produced the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World and the United Pentecostal Church. (33)

“Jesus Only” Pentecostal denominations are among the largest in the world and they are simply a cult. Apart from the Oneness groups other sign-gift cults have sprung up over the years, all of which trace their roots back to Azusa. Groups including: The Children of God, founded by restored prophet David Berg (Moses David): The Way International founded by Victor Paul Wierwille; House of Yahweh, founded by Buffalo Bill Hawkins; The Word of Faith cult, founded by E.W. Kenyon and Kenneth Hagin; various snake handling and poison drinking groups; The Local Church, founded by Witness Lee; the Movement for the Restoration of the Ten Commandments of God (this Ugandan cult caused the death of 444 people); Faith Assembly, founded by Dr,. Hobart Freeman are just a few of the many examples of aberrant groups who can trace their heritage back to Azusa Street. Since the advent of American Pentecostalism there are several hundred Pentecostal denominations and sects in existence today, so much for unity!

Apart from aberrant sects and heretical cults some of the most ungodly behavior has been exposed in the lives of the “GIANTS” of Pentecostalism. (34) Charles Fox Parham was charged with child Sodomy, was a member of the KKK and a Mason. (35) John Alexander Dowie claimed to be Elijah. (36) Aimee Semple McPherson was twice divorced, an adulteress and died of a barbiturate overdose in 1944. She founded The International Church of the Foursquare Gospel, a large Pentecostal denomination. (37)

DakeFinis

Finis Dake, author of the Dake Bible (the standard Bible used by many Pentecostals), he was convicted of taking a 16 year old girl across state lines and sleeping in the same hotel room with her under an assumed name in 1937. (38) A.A. Allen, famous healing evangelist died of a drug and alcohol overdose in June of 1970. (39) Paul Cain, healing evangelist later returned as an internationally recognized –

End Notes

1. The Word of God Community got its initial start at Notre Dame as part of the Roman Catholic Charismatic renewal. By the time it had expanded to the U O M campus it had become ecumenical. In fact, to me a member of the “community” you had to belong to a local church {I believe now that that was part of their strategy to infiltrate non-charismatic congregations}. The WOG community was part of a distinct segment of the charismatic renewal called “The Discipleship” or “Shepherding” movement.

 

2. It is important to note that from the original writings of early Pentecostalism the gift of tongues was believed to be that of genuine foreign language, given to equip the believer for missionary work due to the belief in the soon return of Christ. Today’s charismatic movement believes that other tongues can be a foreign language but is generally an “angelic tongue” given for the private use of the believer in prayer and for personal edification.

3. Obtained from The Kentucky Revival or A Short History of The Late Extraordinary Out-Pouring of The Spirit of God, In The Western States of America, Agreeably To Scripture Promises, And Prophecies Concerning The Latter Day; With A Brief Account of The Entrance and Progress of What The World Call Shakerism Among The Subjects of The Later Revival in Ohio and Kentucky. Written by Richard M. Nemar in 1808 underlining added for emphasis.

4. Obtained from http://www.geocities.com/lasttrumpet_2000/timeline/irvingbio.html.

5. Obtained form http://ww.spiritismonline.net/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=65.

6. Obtained from http://www.truthinhistory.org/Dowie.htm Underlining added.

7. Obtained from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Higher_life_movment.

8. Obtained from http://www.frontlinemin.org/higherlife.asp. Underlining added.

9. Obtained from http://www.answers.com/main/intquery;jsessionid=a8fgk86otl80g?method=4&dsid=2222&dekey=1904-1905+Welsh+Revival&curtab=1904-1905%20Welsh%20Revival. Underlining added.

10 If you want to learn more specifically about Jessie Penn-Lewis you might contact Pastor Dick Fisher or personal Freedom Outreach. He has done some research and writing about her background. The only place Dick and I agree to disagree is possibly when it comes to her views on the demonic counterfeits. DMI believes that Satan can does actually manifest himself and does use paranormal lying signs and wonders to deceive the Church and world. Some Christian apologists deny any spiritual reality to any and all manifestations, chalking them up to mere human emotionalism.

11. Obtained from http://www.ag.org/enrichmentjournal/199904/026_azusa.cfm. Underlining added.

12. McGee, Gary Tongues, The Bible Evidence The Revival Legacy of Charles F. Parham. Enrichment Journal, 1445 Boonville Ave. Springfield, MO 65802. Underlining added.

13. Cloud, David. The Strange History of Pentecostalism. Way of Life Literature, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061-0368. Underlining added.

14. Ibid.

15. Cullimore, James Joseph Smith, the Mormon Prophet Speeches, 218

University Press Building, Provo, Utah 84602

16. For more information go to http://www.josephsmith.net/portal/site/JosephSmith/menuitem.da0e1d4eb6d2d87f9c0a33b5f1e543a0/?vgnextoid=3b62982b9ab4201-VgnVCM1000001f5e340aRCRD.

17. McGee, Gary. Tongues The Bible Evidence The Revival Legacy of Charles F. Parham. Enrichment Journal 1445 Boonville Ave. Springfield, MO 65802.

18. Ibid. Bold type added.

19. Obtained from http://encyclopedia.thefreedictionary.com/Charles%20Fox%20Parham.

20. McGee Gary, William J. Seymour and the Azusa Street Revival. Enrichment Journal, 1445 Boonville Ave. Springfield, MO 65802. Underlining and bold type added.

21. Ibid.

22. Ibid.

23. Ibid.

24. These reports were printed in the Apostolic Faith newsletters. DMI has all of the copies of these newsletters in our archives and they are available on CD rom for a nominal fee.

25. Cloud, David. The Strange History of Pentecostalism, Way of Life Literature, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061-0368. Underlining added.

26. Olsen, Ted. American Pentecost, the Story Behind the Azusa Street Revival. Underlining added.

27. Cloud, David, The Strange History of Pentecostalism, Way of Life Literture, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061-0368. Underlining and bolding added.

28. It is easy for some people to ignore Parham’s comments because he was a racist. Nonetheless, his denunciation of the revival meetings was not based on ethnic issues, but on what even he recognized as occult practices, hynotism and demonic activity. Parham came t assist Seymour, but seeing what was transpiring in the meetings and Seymour’s unwillingness to address these excesses it led to an inevitable split. Parham’s comments about Azusa should not be ignored, after al, he is the “father” of America Pentecostalism.

29. All of these statements ere taken from “from Holy Laughter to Holy Fire” by Michael L. Brown, pages 197 &198. Michael Brown was one of the key leaders in the “Pensacola Outpouring” (American’s version of the Toronto Blessing).

30. Olsen, Ted. American Pentecost, the Story Behind the Azusa Street Revival. 31. Blumhofer, Edith L. Christian Century, April 27, 1994.

32. Obtained from http://www.unitypublishing.com/NewReligiousMovements/WhatSpirit8.html. Underlining added.

33. Obtained from http://mb-soft.com/believe/txc/pentecos.htm. Underlining added.

 

34. Let there be no mistake in the readers mind, I am not saying that other denominations do have or have not had their share of fallen ministers. Yet it is the Pentecostal and charismatic leaders who claim to have received or achieved a higher level of spirituality than the “non-Spirit-filled” Christian, so their fall must be harder to explain away due to their claims of a higher anointing or closer walk with God than your general denominational leader.

35. McGee, Gary. Tongues. The bible Evidence The Revival Legacy of Charles F. Parham. Enrichment Journal 1445 Boonville Ave. Springfield, MO. 65802

36. Obtained from http://www.healing-ministries.net/etudes/men_women/alexander_dowie/default.html.

37. See http://www.who2.com/aimeesemplemcpherson.html for more information.

38. Spencer, Jeff. Dake’s/Dangerous Doctrines, 2004

39. Obtained from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_A_Allen.

 

40. Obtained from http://www.apologeticsindex.org/c06.html.

41. Lobdell, William, Onward Christian Soldier, Los Angeles Times, 2002.

42. Personal Knowledge, plus tones of information on the Trinity website

43. Obtained from http://www.jesus21.com/portal/index.php?s=scandals. http://www.th-record.com/1998/10/04bakker.htm.

44. Obtained from http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2004/011/2.19.html.





Choo’s Tall Tale of Heaven

11 08 2009
Truth Matters Newsletters – March 2006 – Volume 11 Issue 3 – Choo’s Tall Tale of Heaven is to Touch to Swallow – by Robert S. Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

Choo’s Tall Tale of Heaven is to Touch to Swallow

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Let me begin by saying thanks to Pastor Dick Fisher who gave me the initial clue to the existence of this latest book allegedly revealing heaven. For some time I have been slowly working on a book which compares all of the alleged visits to heaven and hell with the Bible and with each other, so I was interested to learn of the existence of this book and after I read it I was dumbfounded that anyone could possibly believe what is written in it.

I am not surprised that people have an interest in the afterlife. Every world religion, cult and sect has its version of what happens after we die and since there is still one death per person due to being sinners it comes as no surprise that the world desperately seeks answers. What does surprise me is how gullible and biblically illiterate multitudes of Christians are regarding this subject.

The vast majority of Christians who purchase these books fall into the category of sign-gift believers, i.e. people of the Pentecostal and charismatic persuasion. Coming from that background I can shed some light as to why these folks are more susceptible to this particular brand of deception. Many (not all) charismatic believers hold to the view that God is still revealing truth to His people, apart from the Bible. While claiming to believe that the Bible is the standard by which they judge all revelations, they readily admit that new revelations are still coming, usually through the so-called restored Apostles or Prophets. What they will not admit is that the Bible is a complete and totally sufficient revelation. According to them God has something more to say.

I remember confronting John Arnott, the Pastor of the Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship regarding the bizarre and unbiblical manifestations transpiring under his pastoral leadership. I challenged him to prove that what was taking place could be found within the context of Scripture. He responded by attempting to validate the manifestations by using fragments of biblical text without regard to their context. When I challenged him regarding his use of proof texts he switched gears and used what I have since termed the “John 21:25 Argument.” This text reads “And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written Amen.” Arnott and the other charismatic extremists cite this text to answer those who question their new doctrines or practices. When forced into a corner exegetically they simply respond that what they are teaching or doing is part of the “many other things which Jesus did” that are not recorded for us in the Bible, but God in these last days is revealing them to us!

This is philosophically called – an argument from silence, there is no way of biblically validating such claims ergo we are told to accept them based on the sole authority of the person(s) making them. Thus the restored prophet or apostle becomes the authority over the new doctrines and practices and not the Bible. To question them is to doubt the work of God in the end times and to demand biblical precedents simply proves that we are undoubtedly of a Pharisaical spirit and are steeped in legalism.

All of the accounts regarding alleged visits to heaven and hell since the 1800’s in America have been written by either Pentecostal or charismatic believers. This most recent foray into the afterlife is no exception to this fact. The book we are going to consider has sold over 450,000 copies overseas, making it an international bestseller and with the recent full page story in Charisma magazine (whose publisher, Strang Communications, just happens to be owner of Creation House, the publisher of this book) it will no doubt quickly gather steam among the sign-seekers in our own nation.

Throughout this article I will be citing the page numbers in brackets versus using endnotes. The title is: Heaven Is So Real, Thomas, Choo, Lake Mary, FL: Creation House, 2003.

Who Is Choo Thomas?

Isn’t it interesting that of all the accounts by people claiming to have given a personal tour of heaven (or hell) do not have any theological training whatsoever! In other words, Jesus does not choose someone like Dr. R.C. Sproul, Dr. H. Wayne House, Dr. Marquart or any other theologians to give a personal visit of the heavenly realms too. Instead, He chooses people with little to no biblical education or knowledge whatsoever, like Choo Thomas.

Mrs. Thomas is a Korean-American, her parents are deceased, and she is married and has two grown children (p1). She says she became a Christian in February, 1992 and from that moment on she began to skyrocket into the upper realms of personal holiness “I could only think about Jesus every waking moment,” (p.1). Two years later she says she received “the fire of the Holy Spirit” while she was praying at home in January, 1994. After this experience she had her first vision of Jesus sitting by the pulpit at her local Assembly of God in Tacoma, WA (p.2).

What Does Choo’s Jesus Look Like?

It is interesting but almost everybody’s heavenly encounter with our resurrected Lord differs as to their descriptions of what Jesus looks like. According to Choo this is how Jesus looks:

He was sitting by the pulpit. His legs were crossed, and I could see Him as clearly as a real person, except I couldn’t see His face. As I perceived Him, He had silky white hair and was wearing a pure white robe. His person was visible to me for almost five minutes. After seeing Him my body was on fire with unspeakable joy, and I became wholeheartedly committed to Jesus. (p.2)

Unfortunately, no one else saw “Jesus” during this service or any other time throughout her book. Being married to an African-American woman for over twenty years I can tell you I know the difference between silky (straight) and wooly (kinky hair. According to the Book of Daniel (Dan. 7:9) and the Book of Revelation, Jesus Christ has hair “like as wool” (see Rev. 1:14) which any woman can tell you is far from silky. Beyond this minor detail what is troubling is that Jesus appears to this woman for no apparent reason, He is simply “there.” Every time the Lord appeared either in an Old Testament theophany or in the New Testament (Stephens stoning in Acts 7:59; Paul’s conversion in Acts 9:4; or John on Patmos in Rev. 1:12) it was for a specific purposes in the economy of God. As we shall see, Choo’s role is pivotal in God’s end-time redemptive plan. Beyond seeing this apparition and feeling her body of fire with joy nothing else transpired but 100% commitment to Jesus.

Before delving deeper into Choo’s delusion let me just say that there is no such thing biblically as a baptism of fire. She says she had some physical experience in 01-94 which she interpreted as “the fire of the Holy Spirit,” yet there is no support exegetically for such a claim. It is after this vision that things begin to become very bizarre in Mrs. Thomas’ life.

A Whole Lotta Shakin’ Going On aka Choo is Special!

As of Easter Sunday, 1995 Choo enters into (and she has not stopped to this day) the realm of charismatic extremist manifestations. While she and her family were attending their AOG church in Puget Sound she states:

…my whole body began to shake violently, and we had to stay for second service. I was experiencing the same phenomenon known among Quakers, Shakers and early Pentecostals. Since then, my body never stops shaking in church or during my prayer time at home. Two weeks after this Easter Sunday experience, I received the gift of tongues while at home and began to sing in the Spirit. While watching a Benny Hinn crusade on television, I stood up and lifted my hands in prayer. Then I fell on the floor for almost three hours. The anointing of God’s Holy Spirit was so strong that I couldn’t get up, and all I could do was sing and talk in tongues and laugh. During every worship service after that, I could see the presence of the Lord Jesus in church. (p2)

Please note that Mrs. Thomas is a very special person which she shall make abundantly clear to all of us as we progress. The church she was attending obviously had been involved in the Toronto Blessing aka The Pensacola Outpouring because neither the pastor nor anyone else thought her shaking was out of the ordinary. What is out of the ordinary is that this shaking occurs whenever she is in a church service or even praying at home. She also claims to have received the gift of other tongues while alone at home. Apart from the debate as to the validity of this gift today, the general manner in which 99.9% of all Pentecostal and charismatic believers receive this gift is through the laying on of someone else’s hands or during a congregational meeting. Very few people attest to receiving this gift at home, and without dispute no one in the book of Acts received any of the spiritual gifts apart from the presence and/or the ministry of one or more of the Apostles.

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Choo seems to indicate that she received this gift while watching a Benny Hinn crusade on television, this is very problematic considering the facts about Mr. Hinn since he is a false prophet, false teacher and proven liar. Also her statement about being slain in the spirit for almost 3 hours seems more demonic than divine. She states that she could not get up, something she stresses throughout her book, and all she could do was sing, talk in tongues and laugh. She attributes this experience to the anointing of the Holy Spirit being heavy upon her. As taught and practiced by today’s sign-gift believers there is biblically no such thing as being slain in the spirit. More importantly, the Holy Spirit gives us self-control (see Gal. 5:23 and 2 Peter 1:6). He does not possess us to the extent where we are physically paralyzed yet according to Choo this is exactly how the Spirit ministers to her. After this possession, which is what I consider it to be, her spiritual eyes are opened and from this point on she could see the presence the Lord in every worship service.

I will not go into the history of these aberrant “revivals” and their attending manifestations. I have covered them in the fullest detail avail in my 2 books “Blessing or Judgment” and “Two Roots of Today’s Revival.”

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I urge all of our readers to purchase at some point the book “The Confusing World of Benny Hinn” published by the Personal Freedom Outreach (www.pfo.org). It is the definitive work exposing this dangerous charlatan for who and what he is.

DMI has a small, but very helpful book on this topic entitled “Does the Bible Support Being Slain in the Spirit.” She tries to biblically explain her palsied attacks as a preparatory work of the Holy Spirit; The Bible is replete with examples of people quaking and shaking in the presence of the Lord. Sometimes this manifestation is accompanied by fear, but most of the time it is preparatory; God is about to do a great work through a yielded vessel. (p7).

Obviously, Choo is the yielded vessel through whom God is about to do a great work, a theme she hammers home throughout her book. This preparatory work is ratcheted up by the Lord after her Easter 1995 experience. On January 19, 1996 the Lord wakes her in the early morning and personally visits her. Before each visit the Lord causes her body to shake and perspire for close to an hour, and then the apparition speaks and appears to her.

I turned my head on the pillow to look in the direction of the sound, and there, all aglow, was a figure dressed in white garments. The radiance that emanated from this unknown visitor was so brilliant that I could not see His face, but in my heart of hearts I knew that I had been blessed with a special visitation from the Lord. (p.7).

How did she know this was Jesus?  She “knew” in her heart of hearts. I guess she never was taught that Satan masquerades as an angel of light (2 Cor. 11:14) or that our Lord Himself warned that many will come saying “I am he Christ” (Matt. 24:5). This figure speaks the following words to her “My daughter, Choo Nam, I am your Lord, and I want to talk to you. You have been My special daughter for a long time,” (p.7). According to her own chronology she has been saved about 4 years when this occurs, not much of a “long time” in my book. Don’t lose sight of how Choo’s Jesus calls her His special daughter, Choo is special! He goes on to reveal to her “Daughter you are such an obedient child, and I want to give you special gifts. These gifts are going to serve Me greatly. I want you to be happy about these gifts,” (p.8). Because of her total obedience to the Lord, He has chosen to give her special gifts and He wants her to be “happy” about them.

I knew at that moment God was choosing me to do an important work for Him and that this must become my single-minded purpose…I have known since then that when my body begins to shake from the inside out that God will be speaking to me…God has chosen me for a specific work. It was too wonderful to imagine…(p.8).

The same experience happens again the next morning and this time as she shakes and sweats the Lord explains the reason He must do this to her: “You are my precious daughter…I am giving you the power that you will need for the work I’ve called you to do. I am preparing you to serve Me. Your body shakes as the power flows into you. I am giving you all the spiritual gifts. I am releasing your spirit so you will be completely free to serve Me. (p. 10).

Now we know when we see someone shaking and sweating it is because of the anointing of the Holy Spirit. We are witnessing God pouring His power into some one for a special purpose. He is working to release his or her spirit so that yielded vessel can serve Him! Choo explains it this way to us:

The shaking continued for twenty minutes. I began to view it as being like a spiritual transfusion. The power of the Holy Spirit was coursing through every nerve, sinew, muscle and organ of my body. It was setting me on fire with the power of God. (p.11).

He then explained the shaking in my body. “Your body shakes for a long time because you need power for this work. I want you to expect many surprises.” (p.17).

Shaking equals power in Choo’s world and few charismatic extremists would argue that point with her. The problem with these statements is that there is not one shred of biblical proof to backup such a claim. Everything in her book is based on her own subjective pseudo-spiritual experience. Choo does not make a strong appeal to the scriptures. Instead she continually points to herself as being Jesus’ “special daughter.”

“I know you do not know many things, but I see that you are pure-hearted. I know that you believe everything about Me. I’ve seen your obedience, and I know you fear My words. (p.80).

Because of her high degree of sanctification and her unwavering belief concerning everything about Himself He chooses her for this great end-time work.

You are living your life completely for Me. Your heart has willingly given up all worldly things for Me. I now know that nothing brings satisfaction to you more than being in My presence. (p.84).

Choo has become totally heavenly-minded. She has reached sinless perfection because one would have to be totally sinless to live his or her life completely for Christ, without any thought of self. She has reached a level of perfection that even surpasses the Apostle Paul who said that he had not obtained (read Phil. 3:12) perfection and was still striving to reach it.

 “Whoever permits Me to control their life will be blessed. These are My obedient children. You are My special child.” (p.93).

Choo’s life is blessed because she is one of the obedient children, which makes her special.

Daughter, you are special to Me…I choose My children who are pure and obedient — those who put Me first in their lives. (p.107).

She gets confused here because she stated earlier that the Lord had told her He had chosen her for this work before the foundation of the world. Yet now her Jesus reveals to her that He choose His children based on their purity of heart and obedience, people who put Jesus first in their lives. It is by our works, whether of personal sanctification or obedience to the law and putting Jesus first. (which in and of itself is fine) that determines the Lord choosing us or not.

If you were not such a special daughter, I could not bring you to heaven to show you all the things you have seen. (p.11).

Obviously Thomas is such a special daughter because if she was not then Jesus could not have brought her to heaven and shown her all these wonders. The inescapable inference is that the vast majority of Christians are not special to the Lord because He has not given them this foretaste of heaven. Choo is special, you and I are not.

You are very special to Me. You must believe this. I had to choose the right daughter for this important work, and you are the one I’ve chosen. (p. 111).

I am not a psychologist, but it really seems that Choo suffers from delusion of grandeur because the quotes from Jesus deal with how special she is versus revealing unknown truth to the church. Choo is the right daughter for this work, she is the personally chosen one!

This is one of the reasons I love you so much, My daughter.” (p.115).

My daughter, I really enjoy being with you.” (p.125).

You have beautiful hair.” (p. 125).

You are beautiful, My daughter.” (p.125).

Don’t be shy, My daughter,” the Lord counseled. The He lifted my face… (p.125).

Choo and Jesus are on a deserted beach and she is dancing and singing in front of the apparition. One of the reasons Jesus loves her is because of her yielded spirit and devotion, so now we know that Christ’s love is not unconditional, there are reasons why He loves us. Here again I believe we read about her deeply held insecurities because Jesus tells her how much He enjoys being with her, how beautiful her hair is, how beautiful she is! This specific encounter is one of the most sensual and frankly, disgusting of the entire book.

 “ I will bring many of My children to the Kingdom, but not every one will live in mansions like the one that had your name on the door. These mansions are for very special children.” (P.138).

There are 2 classes of Christians in heaven according to Choo’s Jesus. The lower wattage believers will not inherit palaces like Choo’s with her own name in gold on a nameplate on the door. These palaces are reserved for the, you guessed it, the very special children (more on the 2 classes a bit later on).

I didn’t show you the kingdom and the pit of hell to bring you home now. I showed you all those things so you will help save the lost and let everyone know what it takes to enter the kingdom. (p.152).

After seeing her mansion and all the glories of heaven she does not want to go back to earth. Yet her Jesus tells her that He has shown her these things so Choo can help save the lost. What is more she is to let everyone know what it takes (WORKS) to enter the kingdom. Choo has a role in the redemption of the lost and is appointed to tell everyone what it takes to get to heaven. The problem is she does not tell anyone in the book exactly “what it takes.” She surely does not mention that salvation is the gift of God, or that what it takes is the work of Jesus Christ on our behalf. Nor does she point out that salvation is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone according to the Scriptures alone.

My daughter, you are an End-Times prophetess.” The Lord told me, “and You are living proof of My Word and My prophecies. (p. 168).

Towards the end of the book we see her role in the Church revealed. She is an end-time prophetess (she told us she was special). She is living proof of the Word and His prophecies! The Bible is not enough “proof”…

But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” (John 20:31).

The fact that the Holy Spirit bearing witness with our spirits that we are children of God is also insufficient proof (see Rom. 8:16). Nope, we need living proof in the form of sister Choo to believe God’s Word.

He took me to His throne and directed me to sit on a chair next to Him. This was the first time the Lord seated me next to Himself.” (p. 61).

While in heaven she entered into the throne room which is filled with the O.T. prophets and N.T. authors and directed by Jesus to sit next to Him on the throne! The mother of James and John must have really been livid upon finally discovering who the Father was granting the right to sit at Jesus’ right hand. Remember she tired to wheedle her boys into the right and left hand seats in the Kingdom (see Matt. 20:21). Sorry sister, very special Choo is seated next to Jesus not James or John.

There can be no doubt in the readers mind how special Choo Thomas is. It makes sense when you realize how important the work she has been given to do is according to God’s plan for the end-times. His great work for her is to complete the canon of Scripture.

Choo’s Book Is Divinely Authoritative

Choo told us she was special, so special in fact that what she has written for us are the exact words of Jesus Christ. If language means anything, then the revelations in Choo’s book are on the same level as the Holy Bible; in fact, we should cut out the pages and tape them into our Bibles. Keep in mind according to this woman, Jesus appears to her and directly tells her to remember and write down His exact words. If that does not mean her book is to be treated as divine revelation than I do not understand the concept at all. Here are only a few of the statements from her book which prove my point:

I am your Lord, My daughter. I want you to hear and remember everything I tell you. When you write it down, use My exact words. You are sleepy, but do not miss any of the words I tell you. I will be visiting you many times in the future because I have important work for you to do. You are the child I am going to use to do this work for Me, so be prepared.” (p. 11).

Then He reiterated something He had commanded me to do several times before: Write down everything I show you and tell you. (p.21).

The Lord continued: I want you to remember everything I tell you and show you. Make sure you write everything down. I will make sure that everyone understands all the things I show and tell you. (p.28).

I do not want you to miss anything I show or tell you,” He instructed. “Nothing more; nothing less. Everything has to be exactly as I reveal it to you.” (p.36).

My daughter you have much work to do. I want you to write a book. This is an important book for the last days, and it will be translated into many languages. I chose you for this work before you were born, and this is why My Holy Spirit is always shaking your body—to pour My power into you. (p.47).

You do not need to know how to write the book. Just write down what I show you and tell you… (p.70).

Now you know why, My daughter. I want you to concentrate on the book, with no interruptions. This book is very important to Me, and it will be a special blessing for My children. Whatever you do, I want you to talk to Me first. Everything about this book has to be My will. (p.79).

Some people will not believe you, but you don’t need to worry about that. My daughter, I am simply using you for this book. It is My book and I will take care of it. (p.80).

Because you are what you are, I chose you for this work…This is My book and My responsibility… I want you to be happy because you are My special daughter. (p.80).

This book will help deliver many people who are in spiritual darkness…I notice that you have never been deliberately disobedient since you gave your heart to Me, an you always put Me first in your life. This is why I chose you as My special daughter and friend. (p.92).

Write this down, Choo Nam. I want all My children to know what awaits them in heaven. I know many of My children have questions about heaven. Some of them wonder if there will be food to eat in heaven. (p.100).

Why do you think I chose prophets to work for Me on earth? Like you, I’ve sent them in order to do My work. Without prophets, I would not have any way of communicating my desire to My children. Therefore, My daughter, do not miss writing about anything I show or tell you. Tell it all. It is because you are such an obedient daughter that I am able to use you. (p.102).

“I want My children to read this book, because so many of them have doubts about heaven. I want them to believe there is a heaven and to live pure and obedient lives so they can come into My kingdom. This book is about all My words and the Kingdom I have prepared for whoever wants to come. Everything is already prepared. This book must be written by a Spirit-filled person. My daughter, if you were not under the special power of my Holy Spirit, I could never use you for this work. (p.116).

I want you to write down exactly what I show you and tell you. Nothing more and nothing less. After this is done, you will receive special gifts to serve Me, and you will be a blessing to My people. I will also bless you more than you want. (p.120).

I want all of My children to come to My kingdom. Whoever reads this book, I want them to believe and realize how they have to live in the world in order to enter the kingdom. (p.131).

From these 15 citations (there are more in the book) it should be obvious to the reader that this book is no ordinary book. Choo, although very special to Jesus, was simply the vehicle through which the “Lord” gave the Church and world new insights. Her book is so powerful that God will use it to deliver people out of spiritual darkness and through its revelations teach people how to live in order to enter the Kingdom of God. According to her Jesus, everything in the book, including its title (p.120), comes directly from the revealed will of God. At no point does Choo’s Jesus direct her or her readers to read the Bible daily, or to study and show themselves approved of God (2 Tim. 2:15). This entity makes no statements regarding the centrality of the Bible; He does make quite a few comments about how important His book through her is!

Hitherto Unknown Heavenly Revelations – aka The Gospel According to Choo

Since you now understand the divine weight of the words in His book, it behooves us to look into the “deep’ insights Choo’s Jesus is sharing with the Church and World. According to Mrs. Thomas, our Lord took her to heaven on 17 occasions. Prior to each “lift-off” the paranormal pattern is as follows: It is early in the morning, between 1:00 and 3:00 AM. Choo’s body goes into the uncontrollable spasms and she sweats profusely. This shaking goes on from a half and hour to an hour. She refers to the cause of this experience using a variety of adjectives based on the root word “anointing.” Here are a few examples: “the anointing of the Lord’s presence,” (p.9), “the intense heat of His anointing,” (p.19), “The anointing was heavy upon me,” (p.59), “a special anointing,” (p.59), “by the anointing of heat,” (p.74), “I was praying intensely under a great anointing from the Holy Spirit,” (p.84), “I cried under the precious anointing,” (p.87), “I plan to give you a special anointing,” (p.121), “a very special anointing,” (p.121), “then the hot anointing and groaning began,” (p.137).

Then she hears a voice speaking to her and she sees the apparition. At this point she has an out-of-body experience where this being first takes her to a secluded beach on earth (location unknown), where they chat for awhile. While out of her physical body it reacts to everything she sees and experiences in her transformed spirit body. If she dances spiritually, then her body on the bed dances too, etc. From the beach they then travel to heaven. I will not detail all 17 trips, but I will cite the “new” information from her trips.

The Master again took me into a huge tunnel. Again—unlike most tunnels—it was bright and shiny…I reasoned this must be the tunnel that people who have near-death experiences frequently describe as the passageway from this life to the next. (p.24).

Unlike Duplantis who got a cable car ride to heaven, Choo goes through a bright tunnel and pops out on the other side in heaven. She has no Scripture to equate her experience to,  so she relies on the subjective alleged near-death experiences of others for validation.

Thomas and her apparition walk along a winding road, passing gorgeous flowers until they come to a white palace with beautiful stained glass windows. They walk in and she sees — The Lord’s glistening golden throne stood atop a raised, oval shaped platform. Beams of radiant glory streamed from the center of the room where this platform was located. I was directed by an angel to a little room on the side, and I was surprised to discover a powder room there. A full-length mirror covered the entire wall on the left side of this room, and many beautiful velvet chairs were neatly arranged in front of the mirror…The being opened a large, walk-in closet that contained many robes, gowns and crowns…After I was dressed, the angel escorted me back to the main room. The Lord was waiting for me. I noticed that He was wearing a gown and crown like mine. (p26).

Good news ladies there are powder rooms in heaven! Every time Choo gets ushered off to heaven she and her Jesus must first change into different robes than their normal spirit-body robes. Note that Jesus wears a crown and robe like Choo’s, as opposed to her being clothed in the robes of His righteousness, no Jesus is dressed like Choo.

What is fairly unique to Choo’s delusion is that she does not see many others in heaven, no multitudes, no throngs of joyous saints praising their Lord. She does mention briefly meeting Abraham, but basically her report is about her, she is the center of attention.

After walking over the beautiful bridge, the Lord led me to a place where babies and infants—many of whom looked as if they had just been born—were kept. It was a huge room, like a warehouse, and wasn’t fancy or pretty. It was filled with babies who were naked and lying close to one another…”There are the babies of mothers who did not want them.” (p.38).

Something doesn’t make sense, Duplantis saw babies and little children being taught by angels….Thomas on the other hand sees them laying in a drab building, naked with no one attending them. They are the aborted babies, whose mothers can have them back if they get saved. Robert LIARdon saw a warehouse in his trip to heaven, but his was filled with human body parts, not babies. Whose vision can we trust? After all, the Bible is silent about what happens to infants and none of the biblical accounts of heaven make mention of them.

The Lord took me to a barren site outside the gate of the Kingdom and showed me many people wearing sand colored robes were in this region, standing very close together, and I noticed that they looked forlorn and lonely even though they were in the midst of so many others. (p.39). I noticed multitudes of people who were wearing sand-colored robes roaming aimlessly in the vicinity of the pit’s yawning mouth. Their heads were hanging low, and they looked very dejected and hopeless. Who are these people, Lord? I asked. “They are disobedient Christians.” How long will they have to stay in this barren, lifeless place? “Forever, My daughter. The only ones who will enter My kingdom are the pure of heart—My obedient children.” (P.46).

He took me to another high mountain from which I could look down into another endless valley here a multitude of people dressed in grey-colored robes were wandering about in an apparent mood of dejection. Their robes reminded me of the gowns worn by hospital patients. The people looked weak and lost, and their grey faces matched the color of the robes they were wearing…This place was mostly men with just a few women. Who are these people Lord? “They are sinful Christians.” What is going to happen to them? I wondered aloud. “Most of them will go to the lake of fire after the judgment.” (p.58).

At least in this detail Choo stays the course with many of the other heavenly delusions in print. We can expect there to be 2 classes of people in heaven. Duplantis saw people in different colored robes, denoting their rank in heaven. Choo sees a class of Christians, some are disobedient and others are sinful. Her Jesus says some of these sinful Christians will end up in the lake of fire. Why not all of them? What did some of these sinful saints do in order to escape the fire? Choo attempts to back up her cockeyed notion by citing 2 Cor. 5:10 concerning the judgment seat. According to her revelation only those who attain sinless perfection in his life will be numbered among the justified in heaven. Again, her focus is on our works and our strivings as opposed to the work Jesus Christ did for us on the cross. If these are the lower class of Christian who are the “high class” super saints?

…I noticed many adults and children who were wearing white gowns, and some of them were wearing crowns. They were simply standing there with very happy looks on their faces. (p.40). As I turned in another direction, I noticed a beautiful river. Along the river was a rock wall, and magnificent dwellings were situated on the left side of the river. Many of these homes looked like castles where only the very wealthy might live. The Lord said, “They are houses for My special children.” (p.44).

These folks have worked really hard and because they are extra special to Jesus (no doubt because of their works), He has made castles for them. As we know all too well by now, Choo is “special” to this being so it only stands to reason that she should get to see her mansion in glory:

We approached one of the castles, and the Lord opened the door for me to enter…The walls were constructed of multicolored precious gems that glistened in a magical way…The Lord rested on a chair as I went up the winding staircase that was more massive and grand than the one shown in Gone With the Wind’s Tara plantation…I noticed that the carpeting was a plush white. I entered a huge powder room that had a very large, sparkling mirrors everywhere. They reflected the brightness of the room (p.55)…I was awestruck by the sparking stone walls that lined the corridor of my mansion. I loved the red-and-cream-colored carpet with its round pattern. The red velvet chairs—so classic and sophisticated—were like the ones I had always wanted in my home. The red draperies were the finest I’d ever seen…The bedroom was carpeted in pure white, and I noticed that the headboard of the bed was silver with blue stones embedded…The mirror on the dresser also had blue stones…The bathroom had a silver bathtub that was decorated with precious jewels of every color. (p.64).

Everybody who gets a pre-death trip to heaven gets to see their “mansion.” This is one problem with taking the Kings James version of the Bible at face value without doing a little grammatical digging. Robertson’s Word Pictures of the New Testament says the following about John 14:2:

John 14:2 – Mansions (monai). Old word from menw, to abide, abiding places, in N.T. only here and verse 23. There are many resting-places in the Father’s house (oikia). Christ’s picture of heaven here is the most precious one that we possess. It is our heavenly home with the Father and with Jesus. If it were not so of the verb (Mark 2:21; Re 2:5,16; Joh 14:11). Here a suppressed condition of the second class (determined as unfulfilled) as the conclusion shows. I would have told you (ejpon an u `min). Regular construction for this apodosis (an and aorist-second active–indicative). For I go (o`ti poreuomai). Reason for the consolation given, futuristic present middle indicative, and explanation of his words in 13:33 that puzzled Peter so (13:36f). To prepare a place for you (e `times topon u `min). First aoist active infinitive of purpose of e `toimazw, to make ready, old verb from e `toimoj. Here only in John, but in Mr 10:40 (Mt. 20:23). It was customary to send one forward for such a purpose (Nu 10:33). So Jesus had sent Peter and John to make ready (this very verb) for the Passover meal (Mr 14:12; Mt 26:17). Jesus is thus our Forerunner (prodromoj) in heaven (Heb 6:20).

These text says nothing about each saint having their own mansion. Her description sounds more like the TBN television set than something created by God! Also, think a moment, why will we need beds in heaven? Will we get tired of praising the Lord? There is no day or night there; the Christ himself is the light throughout heaven (Rev. 21:23). We will be in eternity, so time as we know it will not pass. We will be glorified and like Christ, so we will not get tired and need a “nap.” Choo is fixated on mirrors and powder rooms in her book. She does not describe a heavenly commode, but I assume there must be some since there are heavenly bathtubs (I wonder where the dirt will come from that needs to be cleansed off our bodies?). Thomas also noted a dresser in her bedroom, I guess that is to hold her gowns, maybe the saints “dress” for dinner. Furthermore, the obedient/special children on God will also possess vacation homes on the beach (p.102). When you get tired of all the hubbub in the New Jerusalem just pack up the kids in your chariot and go down to your beachfront vacation mansion for a little R&R!

Good news for pet owners!   Hot off the pages of the Gospel according to Choo: We hiked out of the garden, along a narrow, winding road that led to a mountain vista overlooking a lush green valley. I could see animals of all sorts galloping and playing among the trees. I particularly noticed a spectacular deer that looked so strong and healthy. I noticed that these animals, which would usually be considered wild, were playful with one another. (p44)…It is reassuring to know that animals will live with us in paradise. So many people wonder if their pets will be in heaven…where people and animals alike will never experience pain, hardship, death or suffering ever again. After our visit to the animal paradise, the Lord and I went back to the waterside…(p55).

Again, this is information that the Bible does not detail for us. The book of the Revelation does not mention any animals, there may or may not be animals in heaven, does it really matter? Thomas tells her readers that no animals will ever experience pain or death. Well, that is, except for fish!

Good news for Fishermen!   According to the revelation of Thomas we shall both catch and eat fish in heaven.

We descended the hillside and walked to the water where we saw all kinds of fish swimming in the river…It amused me to see fish in heaven, and I began to laugh…I reached down and grabbed a red, striped fish and lifted it out of the water. I was laughing so uncontrollably, so the fish jumped out of my hands and swam to safety…He began to participate in the action with me by reaching down and grabbing a large fish…It was so good to see the Lord enjoying the moment with me (p.88-89).

As we walked over it, I looked down and saw that the stream was filled with many different kinds of fish. What are the fish for? I asked. “This is food for the kingdom.” the Lord replied. It made me happy to know that we willl be eating fruit and fish in heaven. The fact that these are the primary foods of the kingdom suggests we should be eating more of them on earth. (p.97). …by wading into the water and grabbing a large, flat, white fish. It was about the size of my two hands together. I enjoyed watching the Lord do this for me, and I found the scene to be very amusing…Next, I walked with Him beyond the rocks, where I noticed many large cooking areas that had silver-colored ovens built into the rocks. Atop the oven were cooking grilles with oval-shaped plates and silver forks. The Lord simply pushed a button on the side of one oven and a fire began. He then assumed the role of a cook, right in front of me. He grilled the fish until both sides of it were brown. He seemed to be so happy doing this for me…When we finished eating, He took my plate and fork and put them into a silver container…It wasn’t because I ate the fish; it was because my Lord and Savior cooked the fish and we ate it together. (p.98).

PETA will not be happy to learn that Jesus is not a “vegan.” However, we have been given important information about our future diet in heaven, fruit and fish, ergo we are to be eating much more of these on earth now (I suppose we should walk around in gowns too). I suppose eating all this fruit and fish necessitate the need for “powder rooms” in glory.

Demonic Possession

I stated earlier in this article that it is my belief that Choo is demonically possessed, certainly under the control of a strong demonic delusion. Her own account bears witness to my belief:

“During the night of February 12, my body shook more violently then it ever had. I was almost hurled form the bed because it was so forceful. I tried to grab the sheets to steady myself, but I couldn’t because I had no control over my body. The shaking was unremittingly forceful, and I grew afraid. (p.17).

I began singing in the spirit. The songs come forth, and I have no control over them when I am with the Lord. (p119).

The unusual voice that accompanies the supernatural visions the Lord gives me came forth. (p.123).

The supernatural voice that accompanies the visions He imparts to me came forth, and I saw the cover of Heaven Is So Real. (p.128).

After everything is done, I want you to build My church.” This statement called forth the voice that always accompanies the supernatural visions the Lord gives me. (p.132).

The vision-voice came forth from my spirit. It seemed to take control of me for a long time (p.134).

My vision-voice came forth as it usually does in preparation for a supernatural vision from the Lord (p.138,139).

By this time I was singing loudly, and my hands were moving around like fists swinging at a punching bag…My whole body was jumping up and down because of the anointing and the shaking. I felt as if I were flying…The excited movement of my body and my vision-voice were so loud that I’m sure the whole house could hear me. (p.139).

Since January 1996 the anointing has been so strong that I cannot even control the shaking and other physical manifestations…For example, as of this writing, I cannot even enter the room where Roger works on the computer because the Holy Spirit’s presence is so strong there…my body begins to jump for joy. This is a physical response that comes from the Lord, and I have no control over it. (p148).

During the periods of shaking I would read my Bible and pray. Then as I would get into bed, my body would undergo tremendous and violent shaking for five or ten minutes. In the process my stomach would tighten, and I would experience spasms in the abdominal region. All of this happens each evening before the Lord’s visit to my room…During these marvelous visits, the Lord speaks directly and personally to me. Then He began to preparatory work in my body. When this happens, I have no control over my body for a period of two to four hours. (p158).

It isn’t until the reader is almost half way through the book that Choo’s mentions that prior to the appearance of the apparition she begins to speak in an “unusual” vision-voice. This is not her usual voice, but something that comes upon her or from within her which signify the beginning of her visions. She admits time after time throughout the book that when this voice speaks through her she has no control over it. When her body shakes or she jumps up and down, again she has no control over it. During the duration of visit by her spirit-guide she is physically out of control. This simply is not the work of the Holy Spirit, it is not indicative of His fruit in our lives.

Galatians 5:22-24  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.

1 Corinthians 14:32   The spirit of prophets are subject to the control of prophets.

Choo tells us that she is an end-time prophetess, why can’t she control her own spirit? Where is the self-control in her devotional life? By simple definition, when one is possessed then that individual is incapable of independent action apart from the controlling entity. Choo tells us she has no control during these times.

During the next portion of her book, Thomas goes on to reveal to the readers how “anointed” she is and exactly what the Lord did to her physically in what she refers to as her “body work.” “Each time before the preparatory work begins the Lord talks to me about my future. Then the body work commences…” (p.159). Sound creepy? Choo takes us to the “outer limits” and beyond in the next chapters:

The work involved with preparing my body for the ministry God has called me to do included my face, my hands, my head, my feet and my back. The Lord used my hands to touch every part of my body from my head to the bottom of my feet over and over again…The Holy Spirit directed me in all of this. I don’t really have control of my hands, or any part of my body, when the Holy Spirit is doing His anointed work on me and with me…On several of the nights the Lord poured oil upon me. This precious oil was in oval vessels that looked like small perfume bottles. The bottles were of many different colors. He would pour the oil upon me from head to toes, and on my back as well…I have found that He poured a total of eight-five bottles of anointing oil upon me…Before being bathed in the anointing oil each time an unusual vision-song would come forth. (p.160).

As He poured the anointing oil on my body, I would shake, jerk, perspire and become intently hot…Some nights, while the Lord would be working with my body and hand movements, my entire physical being would become black and cold… There were other occasions when my entire body would become invisible as the Lord was doing His preparatory work with me…During some sessions the Lord would both lift my body and lower it…Many times He would raise and lower my body forty-nine times a night (p.162).

Thomas goes on and on with more of the above. My brothers and sisters what she is describing has absolutely no relationship to the Bible whatsoever. She is describing perfectly what happens to an individual who has undergone what the Hindus call Shaktipat initiation.” Those who practice Kundalini yoga (translated the serpent power) undergo what they term as an unlocking of their charkas. Charkas are alleged to be energy centers within the human body. The lowest charkas is at the base of the spine and is said to have the form of a coiled serpent (the Kundalini). There are 7 charkas, stopping at the top of the head. Kundalini yoga is considered to be one of the most dangerous forms of yoga and the most demonic gurus of our day have all practiced and taught it, i.e. Bhagwn Shree Rajneesh, Swami Muktananda, Sai Baba to name just a few to deceive multitudes in our own nation. When the serpent power is released in the body, the body goes into spontaneous “kriyas”:

Kriyas, literally “activities”, are spontaneous movements that occur after Kundalini awakening. These include bodily activities such as trembling, shaking, and spontaneous yoga postures; vocal activities such as yelling, or spontaneous chanting and mental activities such as visions. These Kriyas eliminate the blocks to kundalini rising within the spine or central channel.

” Then came the most wild of the kriyas. They continued day and night, but were most vigorous when I was lying down at rest. I hardly slept at all during this period. My body would jerk around in radical, spasmodic movements. These often involved very specific muscle groups, such as those in my feet, hands, stomach, back and so forth… then my arms would fly up and down in similar kind of rapid and rhythmic motion. My legs would kick up and down in the same way. These movements were hard and martial, as if I were practicing military marching while lying in bed… The arm movements were becoming more sinuous and complex. As these arm motions became more fast and furious, I went to a full length mirror to witness what was happening. All at once I had the most eerie feeling, as if my body was ‘remembering’ something. My hips, knees and legs began to sway and undulate as the intricate arm motions choreographed. I stared at the mirror in awe…My body was performing some kind of exotic dance. Then my arms came forward and my hands met, palms pressed together in a prayer-like pose, and drew up to the centre of my chest. A force pulled me over into a bow and held me there an instant. Then my knees buckled, and I found myself kneeling prostrate on the floor. The thought hit me; ‘I’m worshipping something, but worshipping what? Then I knew; I had just performed a sacred temple dance.

Once these “blocks” within the body are removed, then the serpent power can flow throughout the person and from them to others! This is precisely what Mrs. Thomas is undergoing and she has mistakenly attributed it to the work of the Holy Spirit! Choo, like the woman in the quote, mentions that her hands began to move at such a rapid rate they were almost a blur at times. She spends a great deal of time relating to the readers how she privately “dances” before the Lord on the beach. At least the woman in the above citation had the wherewithal to ask what she was worshipping? Choo never asks, just knows all of these experiences are of the Lord and by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Why on earth (or heaven) would the Lord have to work on her physical body in order to prepare her for ministry? No one else in the entire Bible has had to undergo such experiences, frankly, no orthodox Christian since the Apostles have had to undergo any such nonsense.

It was as if He were unlocking the potential within my body…He would cause my body to rise and kneel before Him in intervals of seven, over and over again…Thirty-three different time He “unlocked” the various parts of my body that needed His work of preparation. When He unlocked my hands, for instance, they shook so hard that I grew frightened…Each part of my body had a special reaction to the unlocking work…Each time the Lord pours the anointing oil on me or unlocks the locks of my body, my physical being responds with violent shaking, jerking, intense heat, groans and supernatural power that causes my body to be lifted up (p.165).

Thomas says her body literally levitates, at times becomes invisible, other times turns black and cold. She experiences intense heat and each part of her body (charka?) responds differently as it is unlocked, which is exactly what everything written about kundalini awakenings denotes.

She reports so many other bizarre occurrences during the 3 years of her spiritual transformation that I cannot describe them all. What is to me most disturbing is that close to half a million professing Christians have purchased her book! What shocks me is that Strang Communications, owners of Creation House, would deign to publish a book that is so completely off the charts biblically. From start to finish her novel is fill with unsupported statements and out rightly demonic manifestations. Why didn’t the Strang Editors pick up on this? Why didn’t they refuse to print her book and point Thomas to the Bible and the Jesus of the Bible, who sees all His children as special?

This book and its growing popularity prove to me that we are surely living in dark times. When people can give this balderdash any credence at all is beyond the scope of even my warped imagination. Her book does alert me, and now I hope you as well, to the desperate need that the Body of Christ has for Apologetic ministries. When hundreds of thousands of people can be deceived by such patently obvious fabrications we know that we have got a real battle for God’s truth on our hands. Please pray for Mrs. Thomas and ask God to grant repentance to Strang publications for being a tool in Satan’s hands to mislead multitudes. 

Copyright © 2006 Robert S. Liichow

This is a video link that shows a comparison of the manifestations which are mentioned above in this article, and have also continued to be currently promoted in books, conferences and recent revivals such as the Lakeland Revival. 

Footnotes

1. I will not go into the history of these aberrant “revivals” and their attending manifestations. I have covered them in the fullest detail available in my 2 books “Blessing or Judgment” and “Two Roots of Today’s Revival.”

2. I urge all of our readers to purchase at some point the books “The Confusing world of Benny Hinn” published by the Personal Freedom Outreach (www.pfo.org ). It is the definitive work exposing this dangerous charlatan for who and what he is.

3. DMI has a small, but very helpful book on this topic entitled “Does the Bible Support Being Slain in the Spirit.”

4. Obtained from http://www.experiencefestival.com/krivas.

5. Obtained from http://www.eaglespiritministry.com/teaching/elcollie/eckm.htm.

6. The books written on heavenly trips have been by people without any seminary education. People like Mary K. Baxter, Jesse Duplantis, Robert Liardon, Howard Pittman, Richard Eby and others.

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Morris Cerullo – Indicted by a Federal Grand Jury for Tax Fraud

18 07 2009
Truth Matters Newsletter – September 2005 – Vol. 10 Issue 9 – Morris Cerullo Indicted by a Federal Grand Jury for Tax Fraud – By Rev. Robert S. Liichow
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Morris Cerullo

Indicted by a Federal Grand Jury for Tax Fraud

MORRIS

More bad news for the highly anointed within the rarified air of the international charismatic leadership, Mr. Cerullo has been indicted by a federal grand jury on July 10, 2005 “on three counts of filing false individual income tax returns.” (1)

According to the newspaper report Mr. Cerullo somehow managed to underreport his income by $550,000 during the years 1998-2000. If he is convicted, which in all fairness he has not yet been, he faces a maximum penalty of three years in prison and $100,000 in fines.

Why should we care about what Cerullo has done? What impact does it have on our lives as individuals? Individually whether he is convicted or not will have little obvious effect on our personal lives, however what he does as a recognized “Christian” leader around the world does impact our witness as the people of God. Mr. Cerullo has been a very visible and prominent entity speaking in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ on a global scale for a long time. His moral failure is simply more fodder for the enemies of Christ to use in attempting to bolster their case against the claims of Christianity.

The Origins of Morris Cerullo

Like all the so-called “healing” evangelists Cerullo makes the claim that he was supernaturally appointed by God when he was a child:

The Holy Spirit revealed the truth of Jesus Christ as the Messiah to Morris Cerullo when he was only 14-½ years old, living in a Jewish Orthodox orphanage. God sent two angels to supernaturally lead him into the outside world on the first leg of a spiritual journey which has taken him to the very forefront of worldwide evangelism. (2)

Not only does God speak to him but his prophetic annunciations come with a special anointing of God’s Presence. He received a divine, supernatural call from God to preach at the age of fifteen when God took him into the heavens and revealed Himself to him by a supernatural vision. (3)

Every one of these roving healers claim that God has supernaturally brought them into their ministries. Kenneth E. Hagin wrote in his book I believe In Visions how as a young teenager he literally died three times and went to hell three times. On his third descend into hell he cried out to God and was saved. (4) Before Hagin’s tall tale the most widely revered of the healers, William M. Branham claimed to have been visited by angels and heard an audible voice which was his call into ministry. (5) Benny Hinn’s story of his supernatural dealings with God are well chronicled in the book The Confusing World of Benny Hinn. (6) A.A. Allen tells of how he shut himself up in a room and fasted and prayed to God until He came to him. Allen says that God revealed to him thirteen things that if he would do them it would cause the miracle healing power of God to manifest. (7) After Branham and before Allen there was of course the godfather of greed, Oral Roberts who has testified for over fifty years how “God” anointed his right hand with healing power (he started on the healing circuit in 1947). I would be remiss if I did not also mention Robert Liardon, whose claim to fame started with his alleged trip to heaven as an eight year old boy. His story, which is filled with unbelievable heavenly accounts, is written in his best selling book I Saw Heaven.

I mention all of the above individuals to simply point out that all of them make some outrageous claim, often trying to outdo one another concerning either how God called them or how He gifted them with some form of special anointing. In other words, each healer has his or her shtick and Cerullo is no different from the rest of the herd of heretics. Like all the rest he has seen angels, heard voices, no one else heard, been taken to heaven and thus we must accept that he is divinely qualified and empowered by God’s Spirit.

Not only does Morris claim to have divine healing power, his website makes the following claims regarding this man:

Dr. Morris Cerullo, Apostle and Prophet of the Lord Jesus Christ, is a man on the move for God. He is a man whose entire life is dedicated to fulfilling the call of God to take the Gospel of Jesus Christ to every living creature. In 1982, God gave him a specific call in Porte Alegro, Brazil when He said, “Son, build Me an army.” This army is made up of Nationals trained to take the Gospel to their villages, cities, states, and nations with the same anointing that rests upon Dr. Cerullo’s life and ministry. (8)

Morris makes the claim to be both an “Apostle” and “Prophet” of our Lord Jesus Christ. Not only this he is a man with a “specific call” from God Almighty. Armed with this specific call Morris founded: Morris Cerullo World Evangelism. His website enlightens us on the scope of this humble work:

Morris Cerullo World Evangelism is governed by a Board of Directors consisting of seven (7) committed and dedicated Christians men and woman with a common goal and vision to reach the lost of this world with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Morris Cerullo World Evangelism is known as the ministry upon which the sun never sets! At any given time, on any given day, somewhere in the world, ministry is going on under the banner of MCWE. Over the years, Dr. Cerullo has established and maintained tremendous relationships with “his sons and daughters in the Gospel” and his preaching, teaching, training, prophetic ministry and counseling is in great demand around the world. (9)

You’ve Read the Hype, Now Here Are the Facts

Morris the “Apostle” 

I like to eat cheese; doing so does not make me a mouse. Morris can claim to be an Apostle but that does not make him one. The mental wards are filled with people with delusions of grandeur, people who claim to be the President, Queen of England or even Jesus Christ! Cerullo can claim to be anyone or anything he likes, but as my sainted granny used to say “the proof is in the pudding.”

The Bible lays out some very clear and distinct marks which must be present in order for someone to claim that they are in fact biblical Apostles. Let’s take a quick look into the Gospel of Mark concerning the Apostles:

1. The Apostles responded immediately and unconditionally to the call from Jesus. Mark 1:18,20; 2:14.

2. The apostles left everything when Jesus called. Mark 1:18,20.

3. Jesus called the apostles to be His companions, to be an eyewitness to His ministry and to preach what He taught them. Mark 3:14

I might add that of the original twelve all were martyred with the exception of Saint John. I could also throw in that none of them were extravagantly wealthy, (unlike Cerullo). In its simplest and broadest terms an “Apostle” is one whom God has sent on a specific mission. If a Christian missionary goes into a city and establishes a church where there was none before, it might be loosely considered an apostolic work. That is far different than claiming one is an Apostle in the same sense as the New Testament Apostles, which is the teaching of today’s Apostolic Movement, which includes Cerullo.

The Book of Acts gives us some four insights regarding the requirements to be considered a true Apostle of the Lamb:

These special messengers or delegates were called by God. Because of that, there were some very specific requirements for an apostle. After Judas betrayed Jesus and killed himself, another apostle was selected and this selection process gives us the requirements to be an apostle. This process can be found in Acts 1:16-26. We’ll see there are basically four requirements to be a true apostle.

The first requirement  is to be a messenger. The name itself means messenger, so a requirement to be an apostle is to have a message and to deliver the message to the people. This was the “ministry of an apostle: and is spoken of in verse 17 of the text when Peter talks about Judas.

The second requirement  is a formal training period. The training is done by Jesus and covers a time of about three to three-and-a-half years. We get this from verses 21-22 of our text. As Peter and the group are trying to decide who to select to replace Judas, they only consider men who were with them and Jesus from the time of John the Baptist to the time that Jesus ascended into heaven. It’s estimated that from the time John the Baptist baptized Jesus to the time Jesus ascended was about 3 to 3.5 years. These men were with the group and personally trained by Jesus during this time.

The third requirement  is the person had to be a witness of the resurrected Jesus Christ. As the requirements are continued in verse 22, Peter says, “must one be ordained to be a witness with us of His resurrection.” In other words, they had to personally witness (see) Jesus after Jesus arose.

The fourth requirement  and final requirement is that God, not man, selects the person. Remember part of the definition of the word is that the apostle is “sent forth with orders.” It’s God who gives them the orders and sends them forth. Notice in verse 24 through 26 during this selection process, they prayed and cast lots, leaving the final decision up to God to control the lots and the lot fell upon Matthias. (10)

Cerullo does not meet any of these biblical requirements. However, some may try to argue that the Apostle Paul was not one of the twelve, he did not literally walk with Jesus nor was he there as a witness of His resurrection, ergo God has other “Apostles” which are not so narrowly defined. Well let’s take a few moments and consider Paul:

1. Paul was truly a messenger. He went on three primary missionary journeys and he wrote much of the New Testament. He clearly meets the broad definition of the word apostle and his ministry was one of a messenger. Also, Paul carried a very specific message, the letters of the New Testament.

2. To meet the second requirement, Paul would have had to have been trained by Jesus Christ just as the others apostles were. Notice what Paul says in Galatians 1:15-18. After he was called to be a messenger (to preach as he says in verse 16 of Galatians chapter 1), he didn’t confer (talk with) flesh and blood. Paul didn’t even go to the other apostles (Galatians 1:17). If he didn’t confer with flesh and blood, then he must have conferred with the Spirit-the Holy Spirit of god. We get an indication that Paul went out into the desert of Arabia and then after three years, started his ministry (Galatians 1:17-18). Paul was personally trained by the Spirit of the Lord for the 3-year period. Paul even tells us that what he is giving us, he got from the Lord (I Corinthians 11:23).

3. But, to be a true apostle, Paul would have also needed to be a witness of Jesus after the resurrection. In 1 Corinthians 15: 4-8, Paul mentions the resurrection of Christ and Paul mentions all the people who saw Jesus after the resurrection. In verse 8, Paul says he saw the Lord as well. Paul goes on to say he was born out of due time and he feels he is not worthy to be an apostle because of the persecution he has done to the church, but because of the grace of God, he did see Jesus and is an apostle (1 Corinthians 15:8-10).

4. Finally, we need to see if God personally called Paul to be an apostle. Notice the verse in Romans 1:1. If you have the true word of God, a true translation, the verse will read, “Paul a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God,  Notice he says, called “to be” an apostle. He’s not just called an apostle, like a name, but he is called to the specific office of an apostle.  This same phrase is repeated in 1 Corinthians 1:1. Galatians 1:15 also says Paul was called by God. We see the start of Paul’s calling Acts 9:1-20. (11)

Paul meets the biblical requirements and what is more he demonstrated to those who doubted his Apostleship the “true signs of an Apostle” (read 2 Cor. 12:12). Paul’s claim was backed up by true signs and wonders wrought by the Holy Spirit through him.

Mr. Cerullo can call himself an “Apostle,” others may refer to him by that title but the biblical facts speak for themselves, Cerullo is not an apostle. At best he is self-deceived into thinking he is one or at worst he is a false apostle sent by Satan in the guise of a minister of righteousness (read 2 Cor. 11:13). In either scenario the results spell tragedy for himself and those who follow him.

Morris the “Prophet”

It is bad enough to claim to be an Apostle, but he also lays claim to be a “Prophet” of our Lord too. The Bible sets forth one basic standard for a prophet— 100% accuracy when one says they are speaking the word of the Lord (read Deut 18:20-21). God allows no wiggle room or margin of error for anyone who dares to say “thus saith the Lord” or “the Lord told me.” Anyone who does make such statements and they do not come from the Lord and do not come to pass that individual is not to be listened to, followed and is to be considered a false prophet. With this caveat in mind lets look at a few of Cerullo’s prophetic revelations:

“Take up your pen and write. I want you to warn my people. There are 5 major crises that are coming in the next decade of destiny, the 1990’s “ The world will be experiencing the greatest economic turmoil in the history of humanity.”….one of the greatest crises we have ever experienced.” It will be an incredible financial crisis and it’s going to plunge the world into a state of great turmoil and perplexity.” We’re going to see in this decade a complete collapse of the present worldwide monetary system.” It will make the Wall Street crash of 1929 seem like a picnic.” And that crisis will come before the year 1994. “ (12)

Morris gave this prophetic word in September, 1985, it is twenty years later and this alleged Word of the Lord failed to come to pass by any stretch of the imagination. Almost all of you reading this newsletter were alive in 1994 and none, zip zero nada of what the Lord revealed to Morris was fulfilled. Here is a more recent example:

“God showed me at the beginning of 1995 that He was taking us to a strategic level of warfare prayer. He gave us this revelation: God revealed to me that the Decade of the Holy Spirit is closing. He showed me that for three years there will be a new manifestation of true intercession of God’s people rises [sic] to heaven, God will begin to release the flood gates of heaven. God is bringing His intercessors to the frontlines of evangelism! He has strategically placed intercessors in key positions worldwide, where He will use them to effect changes, in the spirit, that will result in a worldwide harvest of souls! But in the midst of this darkness, God has shown me that this is the hour for the Church to unite as a mighty force to launch the greatest prayer assault in the history of the church against the satanic forces now working to establish dominion and control over Europe.” (13)

I am not going to waste your time by parsing everything “God” showed Morris in this encounter. If he is correct, then the ministry of the Holy Spirit ceased or was about to cease. Can anyone show me where His ministry officially began (hint read Genesis 1:2) or where the Bible says His ministry will close? As for the so-called “prayer evangelism” concept, that is pure nonsense. People are not “prayed” into the kingdom of God. People are saved by the means of grace God has given the Church, and prayer is not a means of grace. They are saved by the foolishness of preaching (read 1 Cor. 1:21). Nowhere does the Bible teach that through special intercessors people come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. At best our Lord did say that we are to pray that the Lord of the harvest send out laborers (read Matt. 9:38) i.e. workers, people who are obeying the command of their Master by preaching the Gospel to every living creature (read Mark 16:15). The bottom line is this; Cerullo lied in the name of the Lord and delivered false and misleading information he claims was given to him by God. Again we are faced with only two possible conclusions: (1) Morris is self-deceived and unwittingly deceiving others, or (2) is a false prophet, a tare amongst the wheat sown by Satan to lead God’s people astray.

“Dr.” Morris Cerullo

He claims to be an Apostle and we have seen that he is not. He has claimed to be a Prophet and again he failed the test. Is he a Doctor of Divinity and Humanities? No, not really. His doctorate is an honorary one bestowed on him by another fraud who happens to be the Founder an President of Oral Roberts University, yup you guessed, Oral Roberts gave Morris the degree. (14) On Cerullo’s website he is referred to as “Dr. Cerullo” in almost every paragraph. Why? To give the undiscerning the false belief that Morris is a biblical scholar and theologian when the fact is that he has no earned degrees in biblical studies for any accredited seminary!

Every claim this man makes about himself is a lie. He is neither an Apostle, nor a prophet and even his doctoral degree is worthless. What we do know is that he may be going to jail for attempting to defraud the Federal government out of their rightful share of taxable revenue. This latest grand jury indictment merely echoes a lawsuit brought against Morris by two of his own ministry executives in 2000:

John Paul Warren’s suit, filed last month in San Diego Superior Court, is the second such lawsuit this year against Cerullo, a 68-year-old San Diego-based evangelist known for his cable network and worldwide crusades. Another former executive sued in March, saying he resigned after confronting Cerullo about unspecified “fund-raising abuses.” Both suits were filed by the same lawyer. Cerullo, whose ministry says it has trained 1.3 million people around the world in Christian proselytizing, says the claims are completely false. “The Bible teaches us not to take our brothers to court, “Cerullo said. Warren’s suit says Cerullo reneged on a promise to give each $1,500 donor a satellite dish allowing access to the ministry’s Global Prayer Satellite Network. To Warren’s knowledge, none of the donors received a dish, according to the suit. The lawsuit also accuses Cerullo of hiring Warren for the unstated purpose of gaining access to the confidential 5,000-name donor list that Warren had built up during his 20 years as a minister in Northern California. The lawsuit says Cerullo hired Warren in 1998 with a promise to make him “second in command” and “successor” when Cerullo retired at the end of 2000. Instead, it says, Warren was given a lesser position and was fired in October 1999 after confronting Cerullo about “several integrity issues.” Warren’s lawyer, Dean Broyles, said Cerullo routinely coaxed money from donors by promising to spend it in certain ways, then didn’t follow through. “Both of my clients were very high up within the organization and they were privy to and personally observed a lot of ethical misconduct within the industry,” Broyles said. “In my humble opinion, that’s why they’re no longer there.” Broyles’ other client, Harry Turner, accuses Cerullo of taking back his bonus and saying bad things about him after Turner confronted Cerullo about his fund-raising methods. Turner, who was senior vice president with Morris Cerullo World Evangelism, resigned in December. (15)

Although these two individuals did not prevail in court against Cerullo I believe their accusations helped focus the vigilant eyes of Uncle Sam on this deceiver. If you know anyone who is currently supporting this man and his Sinistry I would urge you to share these facts with them. I equally urge us all to pray for Mr. Cerullo that our merciful Lord would open his eyes and grant him a repentant attitude. ♦

Copyright © 2005   Robert S. Liichow

End Notes:

1. Obtained from the San Diego Union-Tribune July 13,2005 via the http://www.religionnewsblog.com/11670

2. Obtained from http://www.mcwe.com/aboutus.php?SessionId=33f440af97b2d8623b7c78710b4b480b. Bold type added for emphasis.

3. Ibid. Bold type added.

4. This account can be found in the book I Believe In Vision, Kenneth E. Hagin. Kenneth Hagin Ministries, Tulsa, OK.

5. His account can be read in Gordon Lindsey’s book Twentieth Century Prophet.

6. You can order a copy of this excellent resource on Mr. Hinn by contacting http://www.pfo.org.

7. Obtained from http://www.jackieandsusan.com/Gospel_Forefathers/gh_titles/AA_Allen.html.

8. Obtained from http://www.mewe.com/aboutus.php?SessionId=33f440af97b2d8623b7c78710b4b480b.

9ibid. Bold type added.

10. Obtained from His Clear Path Ministries, P.O. Box 241962, Montgomery, AL 36124-1962.

11. Ibid.

12. Cerullo, Morris 5 Great Crises, Morris Cerullo Ministries cassette tape, September 1989.

13. Morris Cerullo World Evangelism web site, Copyright 1999 by Morris Cerullo World Evangelism. This “word” was given by Morris at the MORRIS CERULLO WORLD EVANGELISM EUROPEAN SPIRITUAL WARFARE PRAYER CONFERENCE May 27-31, 1999 Earl’s Court, London, England. Underlining added.

14. In fact with just a little digging around one can quickly learn that almost every charismatic leader of renown received their doctorate from Oral Roberts. Whether it is Marilyn Hickey, Joyce Meyer, Jesse Duplantis, etc…all of these are fake degrees given by a fake-healer to deceive the ignorant into believing these individuals are in fact biblical scholars when in reality none of them have any actual accredited degrees from accredited seminaries.

15. Obtained from http://religionnewsblog.com/11669.

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Sacred Cow Number Five – It Is God’s Will to Always Heal

11 07 2009
Truth Matters Newsletter – June 2005 – Vol. 10 Issue 6 – Sacred Cow Number Five – It is God’s Will to Always Heal – by Rev. Robert S. Liichow

Discernment Ministries International

Sacred Cow Number Five – It Is God’s Will to Always Heal

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Throughout this series I have been focusing on the major beliefs of the Word of Faith (WOF) cult. It is appropriate to delve into this topic due to the fact that the cult is also known as the “Health and Wealth” movement. This month I will consider their views on divine healing as oppose to what the Bible teaches and next month I will close this series out by exposing their twisting of biblical texts concerning God’s will and financial prosperity. But what good is money if you don’t have your health, eh?

It is vitally important for you to understand Discernment Ministries International (DMI) position regarding divine healing. DMI does not doubt that our Lord Jesus Christ still heals His people. Where orthodox Christians diverge from the WOF cult is that we believe that God heals people according to His sovereign good pleasure which is based upon His will for us as individuals. The Lord is the Healer and frankly, it may or may not be within His plan to heal an individual physically. I have often taught that God answers 100% of my prayers (yours too), however, the answers are not always what I want.

There is absolutely nothing wrong or sinful for Christians to pray for physical healing for themselves, family members, friends or others. It is doctrinally correct for the elders of a congregation to anoint the sick with oil and pray for their physical restoration (read James 5:14,15). Our Lord can and does heal through the proper reception of His grace when we come to the altar and celebrate the Lord’s Supper:

Those guilty of unworthy communion through non-discernment of the body and/or failure to examine themselves commit sacrilege against the most holy things, for which reason they are weak or sick or have even died (1 Cor. 11:27-31)…In the Large Catechism Luther confesses the other side of the coin presented by the Apostle in these verses. ‘We must never regard the sacrament as a harmful thing from which we should flee, but as a pure, wholesome, soothing medicine that aids you and gives life in both soul and body. For where the soul is healed, the body is healed as well’ (LCV.68). Positive bodily benefit may accrue, even in this life, to those who worthily (I.e.., contritely and with faith) partake of the Holy Supper. For it may please Almighty God to hold back the progress or even to drive back the depredations of bodily and mental disease through the life-giving body and blood of Him “by [whose] wounds we are healed (Is 53:5c; 1 Pt 2:24) (1)

It is with these texts in mind that we know that our Lord can and does heal His people. DMI is not anti-healing, we are against any teaching which takes something God may graciously do for one of His children and turn that grace into a work wrought by man and thus available to anyone who knows how to work the work, which is essentially what the WOF cult has done.

The WOF Teaching on Divine Healing

The problem with the WOF view of divine healing is that it is based on false premises, shoddy exegesis and is being propagated in many cases by wolves masquerading as genuine Christians. Their belief promises healing to all yet provides healing to none. The only ones who truly benefit from this deadly error are the so-called healing evangelists, all of whom have gotten extremely wealthy from presenting false hopes to the hopeless and desperate. Let’s drive a stake into this particular darkness.

 F.F. Bosworth, an early “healing” evangelist, made the following statement and as you can read Gloria Copeland’s comment echoes Bosworth’s and is now parroted by every WOF SINister on television and in pulpits today:

We see, from almost every conceivable angle throughout the Scripture, that there is no doctrine more clearly taught than it is God’s will to all who have need of healing, and that they may fulfill the number of their days, according to His promise. (2)

The Word of God will establish, without a doubt, that it is God’s will to heal everyone all of the time who will agree with Him. Agreeing with God puts you in a position to receive from God. (3)

There you have it folks, it is God’s will to heal everyone all of the time, end of story. Obviously people who are not healed are (1) out of the will of God for their lives and (2) not in agreement with God. Bosworth moved to Zion, IL a city founded by faith healer John Alexander Dowie (who later claimed he was Elijah returned and died of a stroke). His initial education and training came from his association with Dowie, Parham and E.W. Kenyon. In her healing school tape series Gloria goes on pontificating regarding the condition of the early Church:

In the early Church, they had this revelation. Sickness was no problem to them. They knew how to resist Satan and command disease to leave. They depended on the power of God to put them over in everything. Satan did not control the early Church, the believers kept him under control. (4)

The early Church she is referring to is the Church from its inception to the Dark Ages. The revelation they had was that it was God’s will to always heal people of everything every time. “Sickness was no problem to them.” Oh, really? What does she base that statement on? Paul in 1 Cor. 11 warned the Corinthians about abuses concerning the Lord’s Supper. That due to those abuses many were (1) weak; (2) sickly and (3) some had died. This seems like a bit of a problem to me. If people were not sick then James would not have written about the sick people calling for the church elders. Nothing is written in Acts about the rank and file believer “commanding disease to leave.” Both of Copeland’s statements are unwarranted and in fact, potentially quite dangerous a fact I will address later in this article. This much is certain, at least according to the WOF doctrine— healing is the will of God for all His people.

The fallacy behind their belief is that they teach that physical healing was also obtained for all of God’s children in the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross. “God heals today because healing is in the atonement.” Tilton is merely quoting Dr. T.J. McCrossan who attempted to write a scholarly apologetic for physical healing in the atonement in his book (read and cited by almost every WOF SINister) Bodily Healing and the Atonement:

Again, all Christians should expect God to heal their bodies today, because Christ died to atone for our sicknesses as well as for our diseases. (6)

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Gloria Copeland in her “healing school” echoes this sentiment as well:

When He paid the price for sin, He paid the price for sickness and the chastisement of our peace (mental torment) for us…Forgiveness of sin belongs to you now. Healing of your body belongs to you now. Freedom from mental torment belongs to you now…When Jesus came out of hell, He brought us with Him. We are not bound by sin, sickness or disease anymore. (7)

Some WOF extremists teach that the 39 “stripes” which Jesus was lashed with by the Roman soldiers actually represent categories of disease. Each lash was a disease which is why Peter says that “by His stripes we are healed” (see 1 Peter 2:24).

I continued and said, ‘How many of you believe that Jesus took all our diseases on himself at Calvary? Every one of those 39 stripes he had on his back was a different disease…Can you imagine all the brain damage in the world on him? Can you see all the crippling disease on him? Millions of all kinds of diseases, all on Jesus at one time? (8)

He suffered in our stead because He did not want us to suffer disease. He took our specific diseases and infirmities upon His own sinless, perfect body in complete payment of the penalty of our sin. (9)

The Bible says in Isaiah, that on Calvary He was so disfigured, His body was so bent out of shape, His Spirit was so twisted, that He didn’t even look like a man any more. Sin had crushed Him in His Spirit; sickness and disease had taken hold of His body. He had cancer, tuberculosis, syphilis, gonorrhea, and everything else all at one time. All of this from the whole world, came on Him, and He took everybody’s sickness, everybody’s disease upon His own body. (10)

The obvious error here stems from their belief that Jesus literally became a sinner. He did not bear the penalty for our sin, but He actually became sin. Even so regarding our sicknesses; He was not punished for sickness (which is a result of sin) but actually bore/became literally plagued with all the illnesses of humanity past, present and future during His scourging.

Jesus our Lamb suffered in two ways. He shed His blood on the cross for our salvation from sin, and He bore the stripes on His BODY for our healing from sickness. In the intense spiritual and physical agony of Calvary, which Jesus suffered principally in His spirit…But in the excruciating physical agony of the Praetorium, where Jesus suffered in His BODY from the terrible Roman lash, He bare our sicknesses; for it was there by His stripes that He was made sick for us (Isaiah 53:10), and by His stripes we are healed. (11)

When Jesus bore away our sins, He also bore away our diseases. The cross pronounced a double cure for the ills of mankind. The church of Jesus Christ has been made as free from sickness as it has been made free from sin. A Christian may continue to sin after he has been born again, but he does not have to…A Christian may continue to be sick after he has been born again but he does not have to. He has been redeemed from sickness. The price has been paid for his healing. Sickness can no longer exert dominion over him unless he allows it. (12)

When the Bible talks about suffering, that doesn’t mean ‘sickness.’ We have no business suffering sickness and disease, because Jesus redeemed us from that…Yes, there is suffering, but not sickness and disease. Thank God you don’t have to suffer with that, because Jesus bore our infirmities. (13)

The reason I cited all of the above individuals is to show you (and anyone you may share this with) how widely this error is taught. No one can claim that DMI is setting up a straw man argument. On the contrary, I have in fact only referenced a few examples and could have easily added an additional twenty quotes from our library concerning divine healing.

It is the WOF cult’s contention that divine healing is part-n-parcel of our redemption. I have heard Kenneth Copeland on numerous occasions say that it is as easy to get healed as it is to get saved. It simply requires an individual to use the same force of faith for both. This only shows their ignorance concerning salvation, but since they are at best semi-Pelagian and at worst full blown Pelagians (as was Charles Finney) it is understandable. Let me remind you of what Dr. Martin Luther said regarding salvation in the Third Article on Becoming Holy in his Small Catechism:

A. I believe that I cannot come to my Lord Jesus Christ by my own intelligence or power. But the Holy Spirit call me by the Gospel, enlightened me with His gifts, made me holy and kept me in the true faith, just as He calls, gathers together, enlightens and makes holy the whole Church on earth and keeps it with Jesus in the one, true faith. In this Church, He generously forgives each day every sin committed by me and by every believer. On the last day, He will raise me and all the dead from the grave. He will give eternal life to me and to all who believe in Christ. Yes, this is true!

Salvation is not by our own efforts it is by grace alone through faith and the faith to believe in Christ Jesus is a gift from God (read Eph. 2:8). This is in direct opposition to their view where they have the lost man making a decision to receive Christ and in the same manner to make a decision to be healed as well. Yet if salvation is the gift of God and physical healing is indeed included in the atoning death of Christ, then divine healing would have to equally be a gift. Naturally, they do not see it this way. In answering their claim of divine healing being in the atonement I will cite Dr. Crenshaw:

Is there healing in the atonement? Certainly, and in exactly the way Matthew used the Isaiah passage. From Isaiah we learn that Jesus definitively and once for all removed the cause of sickness by atonement in bearing sin. From Matthew we learn that He occasionally removed the effects of sin during His earthly ministry by miracles. We have already seen that He did miracles to demonstrate Who He was, and once this was done, there was no reason to expect them to continue. The purpose had been completed. Since the healing aspect of the Isaiah passage was “fulfilled” in the life of the Lord, why should we look for it to be fulfilled again today? (14)

Christ died because we were sinners in need of redemption, not because we were sick in need of healing. The focus of the atonement is our being made righteous before the Father by the imputation of Christ’s righteousness. Crenshaw goes on to say:

The Word of Faith leaders, however, make one of the fruits of His death, healing disease, the essence of the atonement. They miss the whole point of sin, judgment, and Jesus’ death, for God has not charged us with diseases but with sin, with disobedience to His moral laws. Diseases are the result of sin, not the sin itself, and Jesus bore our sin, not the result…While in this life though, we shall always have some sin and thus some sickness. It is only when we are glorified that we shall no longer sin (1 John 3:2). Just as we do not expect sinlessness in this life, neither should we expect perfect health.

One day we shall be sinless and free of sickness, and one day the curse from the earth shall be removed, all as a result of the atonement, but not now. (15)

In the April, 2005 edition of Truth Matters the article dealt with the WOF heresy concerning the atonement of Jesus and it is obvious to any genuine Christian that the leaders of this cult are totally ignorant of the biblical Jesus and the biblical account of His death for us on the cross. So it is no wonder they are equally confused regarding healing and the atonement. They all teach that sickness comes from Satan, they do not teach that we live in a fallen world, thusly much of our woes stem from this fact. They give far too much credit to Satan while ignoring texts such as—

For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; 2 Cor. 4:16,17

If one reads the prior verses and the following ones the meaning becomes clear. Our body is dying, yet spiritually we are growing daily by the grace of God. The WOF leaders and their followers are dying physically daily, as are we all. Those who propagate faith healing ministries are no less prone to disease than anyone else in the Body of Christ.

The danger of this specific error is that those who hear these leaders actually believe what they proclaim and follow their so-called spiritual laws and principles often at the cost of their own lives. Meanwhile, the faith healers keep their own physical ailments out of the spotlight as long as possible and when they are sick they make use of the best medical facilities money can buy.

How Do We Tap Into God’s Healing Power?

(All you Need is Faith, Everybody Now, All You Need is Faith)   (16)

 This is really the $64,000 question the WOF pundits claim to have the answer to. But first allow me to give you a short history lesson. Prior to the formation of this cult (17) belief in faith healing was around for many years. Individuals traveled under the aegis of “healing evangelists.” Some of the more notable characters include: John Alexander Dowie, John G. Lake, and Aimee Semple McPherson. These and other people laid the foundation for the so-called “healing revival” of Post World War II. The healers of the late 40’s and 50’s took their cues from the healers which proceeded them. In the Post War days healing evangelists roved the nation. Names like William Branham, Oral Roberts, A.A. Allen, Jack Coe, T.L. Osborn, O.L. Jaggers and Franklin Hall were (and are) commonplace in Pentecostalism and the early Charismatic renewal movement. There was extreme competition (18) among these healers and each one claimed a stronger “anointing” or more dramatic miracles in their meetings. From Dowie up to the present day those seeking divine healing were led to believe that they needed to be in the presence of the man or women especially anointed by God to heal the sick. These charlatans (as history has proven) usually laid hands upon the sick and commanded evil spirits (the cause of sickness they claimed) to leave the infirmed. All of these former faith healers obtained both fame and great fortunes from those in need.

Due to the tremendous wealth which these fake-healers accumulated it caused many others to take their place when death or exposure ended their time in the spotlight. Today we have a host of individuals who teach that Christians need to come to them specifically for healing, that they (the healers) are the mediators of God’s power for those who will but “believe.” People such as Oral Roberts, Kathryn Kuhlman (deceased), Benny Hinn, R.W. Schambach, Leroy Jenkins, Peter Popoff, Robert Tilton, W.V. Grant Jr., Jim Whittington, Don Stewart and other healing evangelists can be seen regularly on television. Hagin and his clones took a different and less risky route then the healing evangelists. It was the WOF cult that began to write and teach about divine healing apart from needing to go to the big tent, traveling healing revivalists which have dotted the spiritual landscape. Divine healing began to become codified into a guarantee from God if people simply applied the correct spiritual laws or principles.

During the great healing revival, evangelists would hold short meetings, and I’d come along behind them with longer meetings. By the time I got there, I often found people who had been healed in those meetings already had lost their healing. This happened in my meetings, too, but I learned how to get them healed and keep them healed. (19)

Even though Hagin attempted to lump himself in with the “big” healing revivalist he never was seen as one of them. In fact, Hagin is not known for even having a divine healing ministry per se. Hagin would show up after the “big-boys” had left town and hold smaller meetings in which he would pray for those who had lost their healing and teach the attendees how to receive divine healing. The important point to remember is that Hagin states he ’learned how to get them healed and keep them healed.” In essence he is saying that he is really more powerful than the huge tent revivalists in that he had the needed revelation of how one can remain healed. Before considering how to keep divine healing, let’s get down to brass tacks and see what is taught on how to receive it in the first place!

Faith healing is exactly what it says it is: you are healed by faith, and you keep your healing by faith…Miracles and healing happen through faith: so if it happens through faith, then we need to find out about faith. (20)

Everything within the WOF cult is predicated by their concept of faith, (21) which as we studied last month does not mean a believer’s simple reliance and trust in God, the object of our faith as revealed in the Holy Scriptures. To these people faith is a mystical force which when properly use according to set spiritual laws will create and change spiritual and physical reality, including physical health and healing. So the initial piece to the healing puzzle is that people receive healing by releasing the force of faith within them for healing.

Your faith will cause the power of God to be manifested in your life. His power is always present. It will do what you need it to do. (22)

Notice how depersonalized Copeland’s statement is; “your faith will cause….it will do what you need it to do.” God’s power is separated from Himself (something the Bible does not teach). The power of our faith, i.e. our ability to conceive in our spirits what we desire will cause this power to be activated. God’s power is at our command and is only limited by the strength of our faith. If a person believes this way about God and faith, then when they fail to receive their healing by “faith” it can have some very dire implications for that individual, or their families.

“If Christ is our Passover lamb, His blood was most assuredly shed to save us from the wrath of God through the forgiveness of our sins, and His flesh was bruised and broken for our physical benefits.’ The logical conclusion to such reasoning is that if one gets sick, he really has not had his sins forgiven. To evade this logic, they make a distinction between forgiveness and healing, which is the Gnostic dualism… (23)

The Copelands assert that the faith that saves is the same faith that heals. It is only logical to believe if one is not healed, then one must not be saved either. Admittedly, the WOF cult does not make this distinction, but then logic is not their strong suit.

Let’s consider just a few of the biblical examples of people who received divine healing from God apart from exercising faith on their part. How do they explain the FACT that ten lepers were healed by Jesus, yet only ONE had faith (read Luke 17:12-19). How much faith did Lazarus exercise when Jesus raised him from the dead, death after all is a permanent result of sin & sickness (read the crippled beggar in Acts 3:3-8 ? The cripple asked for money, Peter and John had none, instead the man got physically healed, something he obviously did not believe for! I could mention the case where Jesus healed Peter’s mother-in-law in Mark 1:31. Nothing is mentioned of her faith in Christ, yet Jesus healed her. Most of you are familiar with the case of the man who was born blind. Jesus healed him and in this case the man had faith in Jesus AFTER he was healed, not before (read John 4:16).

Failure to Receive Divine Healing

All failure to receive the promised blessings falls squarely on the shoulders of the individual believer. It is never the fault of the healer. In closing I will cite seven of the most common excuses used to attempt to explain away the lack of success in the healing business. Space does not permit me to give direct citations, but I will list works which detail what I am sharing in the end notes. (24)

#1. The individual only had head knowledge of God’s will for healing and not a revelation from the Spirit to their spirit. The individual only had mental assent, which will not heal anyone. Remember the only way you can know if you have a spirit versus soul revelation is by the manifestation of what you have believed for.

#2. Hidden sin in a person’s life can block the flow of divine healing. Naturally this excuse does not explain why God allegedly heals unbelievers and admitted sinners in healing revivals. This mystery is attested to by Kuhlman and Hinn.

#3. A lack of tithing (off the gross vs. the net) will open the door for demonic attack. God will rebuke the devourer (I.e. Satan & demons in the WOF cult) on the behalf of the faithful tither (read Mal. 3:11). This is a frequently twisted text used by SINisters to bilk money from God’s gullible and often desperate sheep.

#4. A lack of knowledge concerning divine healing is a major cause of sickness in the Church. After all, doesn’t the Bible teach us that “My people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge” in Hosea 4:6? How can one exercise faith for healing when one does not know it is God’s will to heal them?

#5. Sicknesses that come form unknown causes. This is a major source of confusion and depression among WOF cultists. Marilyn Hickey is well known for teaching that “the curse causeless shall not come” from Proverbs 26:2. So when sickness attacks the WOF devotee they immediately begin to search their lives and see if thee is any hidden sin, lack of giving or strife with others. There is always a cause for sickness and its root is to be found in Satan and the believer who has left the door open for him to attack them.

#6. An attack from Satan to hold back God’s plan. This excuse is usually reserved for the leaders in the movement itself. If the sheep get a disease, then it is obviously their fault in some way. If a leader gets a disease it is an attack from the Enemy to hinder the expansion of the Kingdom of God. For example, when Jan Crouch gets cancer it is because Satan wanted to stop her from giving donated toys to poor children in Haiti.

#7. The individual was healed, but lost their healing. This is a common excuse favored by the healing evangelists. They claim people were healed in their meetings and when they die later on, it is because they “lost” their healing. This is why so many books have been written on how to Keep your healing.

When you read the books published by individuals cited in this article do not be deceived by the testimonies they share. No information is ever given that will enable the reader to verify the claims being made. Anyone can write “ten people, born blind were healed in my Calcutta crusade’ or “Mrs. M. wrote us and said that after she sent in her last $100 God delivered her completely from the demon of stomach cancer.” Also, realize that the level of sickness and disease is as high, if not actually higher among the WOF leaders. The rate of cancer among their international leadership and their families is off the scale. One would expect to see a large (and growing larger) group of extremely healthy individuals and yet they are no better off than anyone else in the Church.

They promise much but they deliver nothing but false hopes and empty promises. I believe Jude must have know people like this in his day:

Woe unto them! For they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core. These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear: clouds they are without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots; Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever. Jude 1:11-13 ¨ ♦

Copyright © 2005  Robert S. Liichow

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Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Kenneth Copeland (*But were Afraid to Ask By Rev. Robert S. Liichow

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End Notes

1. Stephenson, John R. The Lord’s Supper (Northville, SD: The Luther Academy), 2003 p. 200. Bold type added for emphasis.

2. God’s Word for Your Healing (Tulsa, Ok: Harrison House) 1993, p. 9 This comment is attributed to F.F. Bosworth by the unknown author of this book. F.F. Bosworth is best known today for his book Christ the Healer. The following comments were obtained from http://www.christianheroes.com/ev/ev014.asp: “Little is known of the early life of F.F. Bosworth. His family moved to Zion city whilst he was young and both he and his brother BB were to become preachers. FF Bosworth strongly influenced many of the early healing evangelists. This list includes Oral Roberts, T.L. Osborn, J.G. Lake and many others. His book ‘Christ the Healer is a tremendous book on the principles of healing through the finished work of Christ on the cross at Calvary. Bosworth worked with John Alexander Dowie for a number of years before starting his own healing ministry. Bosworth embraced Pentecostalism as a result of being influenced by Charles Parham in 1906. Bosworth was also influenced by E.W. Kenyon and his teachings on divine healing…In 1948Bosworth met William Branham. Bosworth supported Branham until his death. (Bosworth’s) in 1958” The underlining and bold type has been added.

3. Copeland, Gloria, Healing School (Fort Worth, TX: Kenneth Copeland Ministries), 1988, p. 5.

4. Ibid. p. 10

5. Tilton, Robert How to Receive & Keep Your Healing (Dallas, TX: Robert Tilton Ministries) 1987, p. 22 bold type added.

6. McCrossan, T.J. Bodily Healing and the Atonement (Tulsa, OK. Rhema Bible Church). 1982 p. 10.

7. Copeland, Gloria, Healing School (Fort Worth, TX; Kenneth Copeland Ministries 1988 pp. 28,29,30

8. Hunter, Charles and Francis, How to Heal the Sick, Kingwood, TX: Hunter Books), 1981, 9.85.

8. Roberts, Oral How I know God Wants to Heal You, (Tulsa, OK ; Oral Roberts Evangelistic Association) 1970 p. 3 Underlining added.

9. Price, Frederick K. Is Healing For All, (Tulsa, OK: Harrison House) 1976, p. 119. Underlining added.

10. Osborn, T.L. Healing the Sick and Casting Out Devils, (Tulsa, OK; The voice of Faith Ministry), 1950, pp. 179, 180.

11. Copeland, Gloria, God’s Will For Your Healing, (Fort Worth, TX; Kenneth Copeland Ministries) 1972, p. 30

12. Hagin Kenneth E. Must Christians Suffer?, (Tulsa, OK Kenneth Hagin Ministries). 1990 pp. 2, 41.

13. Crenshaw, Curtis, Man As God The Word of Faith Movement (Memphis, TN; Footstool Publications), 1994 p. 139

14. Ibid p. 133

15. Hum this to yourself using the Beatles tune ‘All you need is Love”

In saying ‘formation’ I am referring to the establishment of actual Word of Faith congregations. This did not really begin to occur until Kenneth Hagin had graduated his first class from Rhema Bible Training Center outside of Tulsa, OK. In the late 1940’s up to this day there have been many formerly Pentecostal congregations which separated themselves from their denominations and became independent charismatic churches, many of which began to teach WOF concepts as they became popular. One of the largest and most enduring WOF “denominations” was started by Buddy Harrison, Hagin’s son-in-law called Faith Christian Fellowship which has 100’s of congregations throughout America and overseas.

16. For many years there was an ongoing “battle” between A.A. Allen and Jack Coe over who had the largest healing revival tent. Branham claimed to see an angel feel demons in his right hand, Roberts said God had anointed his right hand with healing power. Jack Coe would inflate the results of his meetings and make outlandish claims. Each healer tried to find a “nitch” market among the sick seekers.

17. Hagin, Kenneth, How to Keep Your Healing (Tulsa, OK. Kenneth Hagin Ministries). 1989, p. 19

18. Tilton, Robert, How To Receive & Keep Your Healing, (Dallas, TX: Robert Tilton Ministries ) 1987, p. 18 Underlining added.

In Last month’s Truth Matters (May 2005) I delved into the WOF concept regarding faith and it would be redundant to devote much space re-explaining it in this issue.

19. Copeland, Gloria, Healing School (Fort Worth, TX: Kenneth Copeland Ministries) 1988 p. 4 underlining added.

20 Crenshaw, Curtis, Man As God The Word of Faith Movement (Memphis, TN. Footstool Publication) 1994 p. 143. In the beginning of this citation Crenshaw is quoting from McCrossan’s book on healing and the atonement. Bold type added.

21. Here are some titles which cover these excuses and many others: T.L. Osborn. One Hundred Divine Healing Facts; Gordon Lindsey Twenty-Five Objections to divine healing and Bible answers; K. Neill Foster Twenty-three Reasons Why Some Are Not Healed.

22. I have mentioned in many previous articles and on our website the fact that the rate of cancer among WOF leaders and their families far exceeds that of other international Christian leaders and their families.