Why DMI Does What It Does

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

 Discernment Ministries International

 Why DMI Does What It Does

By Rev. Robert S. Liichow

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

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

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

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

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

The Field of Battle Is Two-Fold

From Without-

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

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

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

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

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

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

From Within-

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Satanic Six Fold-Ministry

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

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

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

The False Apostle

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

False Prophets

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

False Teachers

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

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

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

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

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

False Shepherds

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

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

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

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

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

False Christ’s

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

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

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

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

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

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

False Brethren

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Copyright © 2012 Robert S. Liichow

End Notes

1. LN Louw-Nida Greek-English Lexicon

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

3. Obtained from www.apostolicministry.org

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

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

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

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

8. Obtained from www.whatsnewintheprophetic.com/PropheticMinistry

9. Obtained from www.prophetic-ministry.com

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

Advertisements




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

22 06 2012

Truth Matters Newsletters – May 2012 – Vol. 16 Issue 6 – Sons of Thunder? (Part Two) “You don’t know What Spirit You are Of” By Rev. Robert S. Liichow

 Discernment Ministries International

Sons of Thunder? (Part Two)

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

By Rev. Robert S. Liichow

E.W. Kenyon taught the concepts of (1) the creative power of words, (2) Jesus ministering as only a man anointed with/by the Holy Spirit, (3) Jesus defeating Satan as a born-again man, a man like you and I, (4) and Jesus was born again from sin (Jesus became an actual sinner according to Kenyon) into new divine life. These and several other bizarre, unbiblical and heretical concepts are rooted in Kenyon’s ideas of what transpires when we become “new creations” in Christ.

Crowder is not teaching people what it means to live life as a Christian as normally understood for the last two thousand years. He is presenting the Kenyon concepts, which like all error has grown (Matthew 16:12) and developed far beyond Kenyon’s nascent dreams of glory.

Crowder presents a theology of glory where the end time Christian mystic will simply walk in the manifest glory of God (the Shekinah of God), healing the sick, working miracles where needed, traveling back and forth between heaven and earth (more on this later), raising the dead, and ultimately defeating death itself in his own life, becoming immortal (1 Cor. 15:26). (14)

 Dear readers, I know the above paragraph sounds beyond belief, who would really think that this was how God always meant for the church to operate? I have news for you, there are hundreds of thousands of professing Christians who believe exactly these things and many have simply been waiting for someone to “show” them how to do what they believe God has appointed for the church, especially in the last days.

 Before the initial fervor of the last revival had died down people were already asking and even prophesying what God was going to do next. Tracy and I heard and have on video tape these prophetic words declared by no less than John Arnott’s wife at TACF regarding when the “laughing stops,” referring to the holy laughter revival which the soul-hucksters knew was warning. Crowder is on the move, gathering sign-seeking souls who are after their next “fix” of the divine.

 PLEASE do not just file this information away under “wacko.” Initially the orthodox Church ignored what was taking place on the wrong side of the tracks at a street called “Azusa.” Today Pentecostalism is the fastest and largest segment of the visible Church today. Back then it was ignored and not studied and it grew and is growing still! We cannot afford to (1) be ignorant of what is taking place in the Church and (2) if it is wrong then we MUST speak out about it in Christian love and warning.

 

Gain A Historical Grid of Miracles & Mystics

This is probably the most honest statement in the advertisement. Crowder’s grid is nothing more than an outline of the various accounts of Christian mystics and alleged miracle workers of the past. The point of providing this information is two-fold: (1) It demonstrates that God did this in the lives of past believers, He will do it for you; (2) these former mystics tapped into the divine, leaving us a roadmap to follow. They simply lived the “normal Christian life” according to their charismatic paradigm and we cn all enter into the glory realm. (15)

Church history is filed with wild accounts from various monks and nuns which form much of the basis for Crowder’s historical grid. Tales of levitating monks (16) and statues that bleed” do not inspire me anymore than accounts of various stigmatic’s wounds. No one in the Bible simply lifted 3 or 4 feet off the ground and hovered around a bit while in ecstatic prayer. The accounts he sites are from murky sources at best, written down during the Dark Ages and other times of great superstitions.

Yet for arguments sake let’s say these things occurred. OK, so what benefit accrued to the Church because of these events?  How was Jesus exalted?  Were people brought to faith by such events? [If so, I would doubt their conversions, salvation is by faith alone, not by seeing miracles]. No Crowder is simply trying to buttress his faulty belief system by presenting what happened in past enthusiasts lives and trying to make these individuals the pattern we are to follow.

Be Activated in the Seer Realm, Prophecy, Spirit Travel

Here we go again being “activated” by Crowder and his anointed crew!  But this time the activation is to be in three specific areas which require some explanation.

The Seer Realm:

Let us read directly from a modern “seer” and see how he explains this hitherto unknown “gift”.

My personal journey into the seer realm has been progressive. Some seem to be “born with a full blown gift’ – like Bob Jones, John Paul Jackson and a few others in our day and time. Others come forth step-by-step as I did over a period of months and years.

In the prophetic, I heard first in the Spirit before I ever saw. I was comfortable in this realm and the voice of the Lord spilled over into the fit of prophecy. Later on, I recognized that the feeling dimension had been active in my life all the time–I just seemed extra sensitive and emoted more than others—especially men. But there was no teaching on that realm so the “feeler” stayed at a certain level and found its primary expression as burdens from the Lord in the place of prayer. For me, the seer realm unfolded over time like a flower blossom–opening in the sunlight ever so slowly. Eventually, especially in the atmosphere of worship, I found the Lord giving me both internal and external visions. Dreams were multiplied and became a regular tool in which the Lord would speak to me. Being around the culture of the seer, hanging out with gifted people, enhanced my own hunger, gift and calling. Visitations were never daily with me, but I would come into seasons where encounters with a supernatural God were profuse and not rare at all. (17)

It is commonly taught that certain gifts of the Holy Spirit develop over time.  One might have the gift of prophecy, but stumble at first and then with growth accuracy comes (of course the Bible recognizes no such process of development regarding the gifts). Seers’ see’ things in the spirit that the rest of us do not se either in an open vision (while awake) or in dreams (while asleep). The biblical examples of dreams and visions were exceedingly important, something today’s so-called seers cannot claim. The Bible does speak about those who —

Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, And not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God. (18) Col. 2:18-20

Crowder and his ilk fit the category of “intruding into those things which he hath not seen.” They are today’s Gnostics teaching that there is insight and power hidden from common view, yet available via the adepts who have already trodden the path to ecstasy, all that is required is that one pay for the course and check their mind at the door.

Prophecy

Like tongues, prophecy is a verbal gift (the third verbal gift is the interpretation of tongues) and it is something that usually is not instantly in manifestation i.e. people who believe they receive the gift of tongues speak immediately, no one begins to immediately prophesy as did the disciples of John in Acts 19 when they received the Spirit. Most active charismatics have pro-fa-lied at some point in their Christian experience; certainly all of them have heard others give forth the “word of the Lord.” (19) We have no recorded prophetic utterances over the last couple of hundred years which have increased the Church at all. We do have a vast repository of false and unfulfilled words given by Mr. Hinn, Copeland, Duplantis, Capps, Branham and a myriad of other liars and deceived deceivers. Those who can boldly stand up in a service and declare “thus saith the Lord” at the end of their spewing do not fear the Lord as they ought. It is the utmost of seriousness to stand and speak in the Lord’s name (see James 3:1) and to teach His people anything.

From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling; Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm. But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully; 1 Tim. 1:6-9 (20)

Leaving the path of charity Paul speaks of those who have swerved aside to worthless talk, speculation and jangling (3467 (mataiologia), n. fem.: = Str 3150; TDNT 4,524-LN 33.377 idle discussions, meaningless talk, empty talk (1 Ti 1:6+). This is certainly the case with Crowder and the others. They have no formal education in the Scriptures and they are either self-taught or the product of sitting under other unsound and heretical teachers and adding their own unique twist on things along the way. If one believes someone can “activate” them into the miraculous, then to learn how to utter a prophetic word is no big stretch. After all, this gift can be developed one may start off being only 20% accurate but over time grow to be maybe 80% right. The problem with this view is simply this: How does one know when the prophet is right or not? Whether to act on the “prophetic word” or not. Good intentions fall into hell’s pit when one lies in the name of the Lord God Almighty.

Spirit Travel

Bilocation is the term our government used when testing people for the psychic ability of sitting in one location and seeing what is taking place somewhere else, often miles away. This is also called remote viewing among parapsychologists. The occult world is replete with accounts of so-called astral projection or soul travel. Paul Twitchell started a new age cult called Eckankar which is devoted to astral projection to other cosmic realms. What I find outrageous is that this darkest form of occultism is being openly taught and embraced by professing Christians! Like Paul I want to shout “who has bewitched you” (Gal. 3:1). Is there anything in the Bible that even tangentially brushes on the farthest twisting of any text to support astral travel? Oh sure, have you forgotten what Paul said to the Colossians—

For though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order, and the steadfastness of your faith in Christ. Col. 2:5 (22)

Paul said he was “beholding” their order and steadfastness in Christ in the spirit. He obviously was in one place physically BUT was literally watching them in another location via being in the spirit. (23) After all, The Apostle John was also in the spirit on the Lord’s Day (see Rev. 1:10) when he went to heaven in the spirit while his body remained on Patmos. Lastly, we do have the account of Paul about a man who was caught up into the third heaven, whether he was in his body or not he did not know (see 2 Cor. 12:2). According to Crowder’s crowd we have three “witnesses” and thus let a doctrine be established (a misread of 2 Cor. 13:1) promoting astral tripping.

Not only does Crowder have at least three potential texts to wrest he can also fall back on the charismatic belief that everything that Satan has and does is just a counterfeit of the genuine. Thus if New Age and occult people astral project to various realms and places by the devil’s power. . . . How much MORE should God’s children enjoy the benefits of such travel.

However what Crowder doe not reveal to us is what the benefit of such travel is for the church. KEEP THIS IN MIND: Whenever our Lord blesses us, it is never for only “us.” He blesses us in order to bless others. The gifts of the Holy Spirit are to profit the Church, not the individual used in the gift. Their blessing comes from simply being God’s chosen instrument of the moment. This is the principle of it is more blessed to give than to receive,  Why?  Because the implication is that the one giving has something to give to someone else who lacks that resource.

These people have no biblical authority or even Church tradition (much much lesser authority) to buttress this teaching on. Their primary sources are the alleged subjective accounts from people we would consider spiritual “flakes.” Secondarily, they can appeal to the occult for other directions and insights along with their own fantasies of what transpired “in the spirit.”

Receive Open Heavens & Revelatory Understanding

Unfamiliar with the term ‘open heavens’? don’t feel bad; enthusiasts have an entire coded language of esoteric phraseology that the uninitiated do not understand. An “open heaven” refers to the belief that there are times when God opens the gates of heaven and sort of layers heaven over the earthly. The heavens are often closed to us due to our own sins and we have no fellowship with God.

And your heaven that is over your head shall be bronze, and the earth that is under you shall be iron Deut. 28:13

And I will break the pride of your power; and I will make your heaven as iron, and your earth as brass: Lev. 26:19

But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear. Isa. 59:2

However, there are times, when the spiritual condition have been met, when God can come down and fellowship with His children. There is often a lot of build-up in a service before the leaders declare the heavens to “be open” and an Acts 3:19 event can occur:

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

It is during one of these services when there seems to be a great deal of paranormal manifestations that they declare an “open heaven.” Naturally after holding a successful meeting a score of meetings/conferences pop-up declaring things like “Open Heavens Prophetic Conference.” (24)

The concept of an “open heaven” comes into the church via the Vineyard false prophets especially Bob Jones, Paul Cain and Todd Bentley.  Here is Todd (former child molester) Bentley’s reasoning on an open heaven:

Bentley’s main argument of an open heaven goes like this “If He’s the same today, then why can’t He visit me like He visited Abraham? If he’s the same today, why can’t He visit me like He visited Daniel? Why can’t He visit me like He visited John? Why can’t He visit me like He visited Isaiah? How about Ezekiel? Yes, Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and that makes what’s available in “Bible days” available today. It’s not just about healing and laying hands on the sick and seeing miracles, as great as these are, but it’s also about supernatural encounters with God. Do you believe that? Do you believe that Jesus rose from the dead and over five hundred people saw Him for forty days in His resurrected body (1 Cor. 15:6)? Do you believe supernatural things can take place today? I’m asking this because we’re okay with angels showing up and speaking to Mary and Joseph, but we’re not okay with angels showing up and speaking to us. We’re okay with Paul being taken into heaven, or what he called the third heaven – caught up into a place called paradise. We’re okay with that. It’s good for Paul, or it’s good for Elijah. Yet both Paul and Elijah were men just like we are, and as you know, they’re both in heaven today.  So are Abraham and Isaiah. They aren’t on earth anymore for God to interact with. But God, by His very nature, wants to interact with somebody supernaturally. My question is: Why not you? Why should anyone’s experience in Christianity today be any different from what people experienced in Bible days?” (A Face to Face Encounter, Monday, November 19, 2007) http://acloserwalkwithgod.blogspot.com/2007/11/face-to-face-encounter.html  ) (25)

An ‘open heaven’ is declared due to the mass number of enthusiasts in the thrall of various manifestations, all of which are attributed to the Holy Spirit. Those which have no biblical foundation are referred to as “new wine,” and people are constantly reminded that the apostle John said that the bible does not contain everything Jesus said and did. Thus the things occurring now are ascribed to God. At no time are people warned to beware that Satan counterfeit’s the genuine via his “angels of light” (2 Cor. 11:`14)

The sad thing is that these people, often sincere, are stripped of the only tool that can help them discern what is from the Lord and what is not. They are not encouraged to go and study the scriptures as the Bereans did (Acts 17:11) and to allow the bible alone to be their guide. On the contrary they are told just the opposite. I have personally heard John Arnott the “father” of the so-called holy laughter revival say that he has more confidence in God’s ability to bless than in Satan’s ability to deceive!

Sounds pious, but it is as deadly a lie as can be told to the Christian. Certainly God is more powerful than Satan, but then tell me why is the New Testament FILLED with warnings regarding being deceived and mislead? Those admonitions are not in the bible to fill up space, they are meant to make us aware of the reality of Satan and the deceptive nature of our fallen flesh which is against God (Rom 8:7) and is prone to accept anything that is in defiance of Him. Arnott, Crowder and all of the enthusiast SINisters are the arbiters of the genuine and counterfeit due to their own proclamations of having already paved the way, they are now guides to the seeking souls.

Revelatory insights! This has nothing to do with transmitting faithfully the doctrine of the Apostles already received by the church. Crowder is referring to ‘newinsights versus the old tried-n-true religion. For them truth is progressive, what the scriptures may have meant to others in the past, today they can take on an entirely new meaning.

Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know ( them ), and be established in the present truth. 2 Peter 1:12

Benny Hinn made the following statement, “Man, I feel revelation knowledge already coming on me here. Lift your hands. Something new is going to happen here today. I felt it just as I walked down here. Holy Spirit, take over in the name of Jesus….God the Father, ladies and gentlemen, is a person; and He is a triune being by Himself separate from the son and the Holy Ghost. Say, what did you say? Hear it, hear it, hear it. See, God the Father is a person, God the Son is a person, God the Holy Ghost is a person. But each one of them is a triune being by Himself. If I can shock you–and maybe I should-there’s nine of them. Huh, what did you say? Let me explain: God the Father, ladies and gentlemen, is a person with his own personal spirit, with his own personal soul, and his own personal spirit-body. You say, Huh, I never heard that. Well you think you’re in this church to hear things you’ve heard for the last 50 yrs? (Benny Hinn, Benny Hinn program on TBN (October 3, 1991). (26)

Tommy Tenney in his bestselling book, “The God chasers” says: “God chasers have a lot in common. Primarily, they are not interested in camping out on some dusty truth known to everyone. They are after the fresh presence of the Almighty. . . If you’re a God chaser, you won’t be happy to simply follow God’s tracks. You will follow them until you apprehend His presence. (27)  DMI has already extensively covered the foul deception of the heretic Tenney who follows the error of Sabellius. The Bible is passé, yes it contains dusty truths, but what is being fostered is a false desire for something else, something new and fresh that can only be found outside of the Holy text. This is a very disturbing trend which my wife and I saw occurring within the sign-gift movement years ago.

We noted that many of our former teachers were beginning to reinterpret texts which had always meant something altogether different. When we questioned we were told that what they were teaching was “newrevelation and that we needed to be established in this present truth being revealed for these last days. Any questioning of these new teachings was met with hostility and suspicion.

Beliefs and practices which were totally outside the bible were passed off as ‘John 21:25’ events (things done by Jesus but not recorded) and we knew this how? Because a restored prophet or apostle told us so! They had become the source of correct understanding and as such they expected to be obeyed without question. At this point Tracy and I had our eyes opened by our Lord Jesus christ (thanks be to Him, who still seeks straying sheep!) and we left the madness.

Since the Lord delivered us from this madness I have dedicated my life to “Teaching Truth & Exposing Error.” things have gone from being merely ‘silly’ to becoming overtly demonic and dark in many cases and few within the movement have ever risen up to shout out a warning.

I thought for awhile that I should become a Lutheran pastor and operate DMI in the background. I went back to seminary, this time in Fort Wayne and I benefited greatly by the experience. However, it seems as though this is not the path for me.

Instead, I am working towards creating a Recognized Service Organization (RSO) within the LCMS and thus hopefully be given invitations to come and teach their congregations about the dangers facing the church. As a mere LCMS “member” I have the freedom to speak from any pulpit (something as an LCMS pastor I could not do) that invites me to speak.

The point is this:

FULL SPEED AHEAD WITH DISCERNMENT MINISTRIES INTERNATIONAL!

Until Christ Jesus calls me home, I will contine as the Lord provides to continue to stand on the “wall” and shout out a warning to God’s people according to my meager abilities. To all those who support DMI —you have my heartfelt thanks!

Copyright © 2012 Robert S. Liichow

End Notes

14 The DMI scriptorium has a copy of an extremely rare book entitled “How to Raise the Dead” by Franklin Hall, written during the early days of the post WWII healing revival. His writings have impacted this generation of sigh seekers.

15. If you doubt this, simply go to Google and type in ‘Christian Mystics’ and over 4 million sites will pop up, this is a popular delusion which is gaining momentum.

16. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Saints and levitation  has a decent section on flying monks.

17. Obtained from http://www.enlijahlist.comwords/ display word/8462  Underline and bold type added for emphasis.

18. The Holy Bible King James Version, Electronic Editiion of the 1900 Authorized Version. (Bellingham, WA; Logos Research Systems, Inc, 2009), Col 2:18-

19. In years past when I would speak forth a ‘prophetic word’ when I was finished I would often ask my wife Tracy if what I said was “alright” because when the few times I did speak publically I HAD LITTLE CONSCIOUS KNOWLEDGE OF WHAT I WAS SAYING, it was spewing forth from some other part of my brain. Naturally, I have shamefacedly repented of this foolishness long ago, begging the Lord’s forgiveness for lying in His name and misleading His people.

20. The Holy Bible King James Version, Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorize version (Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc, 2009), 1 Tim 1:6-8

21. James Swanson, Dictionary of Biblical Languages With Semantic Domains: Greek (New Testament), electronic ed. (Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc, 1997).

22. The Holy Bible King James Version, Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorize version (Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc, 2009), Col 2:5

23. I always find it amazing when folks suddenly become literalists in biblical interpretation. Then when asked what about Jesus statement “this is My body,” well that is not what He meant there. Their position demonstrates their unstable and shifting hermeneutic.

24. These folks will try to make a movement out of anything. See

25. Obtained from our good friends and fellow truth-tellers at Let us Reason, http://www.letusreason.org . Note his line of argumentation, which we have already considered (see folks, I do not have to make anything “up”).

26. Obtained from http://defendchrist.org/false_teachers.html#hinn

27. Obtained from http://www.deceptioninthechurch.com/GodChasers.htm





Charismatic Confusion Over Knowing the Will of God – Part Two

22 03 2012
Truth Matters Newsletters – March 2012 – Vol. 16 Issue 3 – Charismatic Confusion Over Knowing The Will of God – Part Two

Part Onehttps://discernmentministriesinternational.wordpress.com/2012/03/15/charismatic-confusion-over-knowing-the-will-of-god-part-one/

Discernment Ministries International

Charismatic Confusion Over Knowing The Will of God

Part Two

By Rev. Robert S. Liichow

Last month we began to consider a common belief that there are degrees of being in or out of God’s will. It is also commonly taught that God has His own unique personal “perfect” will for each of His children. This belief is held by thousands of sign-gift devotees and Christians of every evangelical stripe.

We specifically considered the false teaching that it is the will of god for all His children to be financially wealthy. However, we also learned that God’s will simply does not come to pass by His divine fiat. In order to enter into His will for one’s prosperity there are various laws which the believer must work in order to be blessed financially. The dirty little secret is this; these blind guides are promoting nothing less than a Ponzi scheme with their names at the top of the pyramid. People who have been donating to these frauds and their SINistries faithfully for years are not any more finically prosperous than the rest of us who do not work their laws.

Copeland has however (as the “top” of the Ponzi scheme) raked in an estimated one billion dollars over the last forty years because of televangelism, books, tapes, investments. When you add the financial take from Joyce Meyer, Creflo Dollar, Fred Price, Benny Hinn it is billions of dollars. What have they done with the money they have siphoned off from the Church? Where are the schools, hospitals, the feeding & clothing programs, orphanages or other visible expressions of the love of Christ for a dying world? The reality is, these people suck in huge amounts of money and yet a very small percentage is ever given away (most ministries these folks support are run by volunteer staff with little overhead).

As a pastor I know this false belief about God’s will is very destructive to the spiritual wellbeing of Christ’s people. The very concept of law keeping and/or doing some works in order to receive (merit) something from our Lord is a horrid and retched belief which can, at its fullest foul flowering lead to the damnation of the individual due to a reliance upon their own works (pride) to merit salvation. Others are led to despair and some become destitute after giving their last farthing in “faith.” After being slavish workers of the various laws, principles and Kingdom rules for prosperity they believe they have failed to enter into God’s will and they fall away, discouraged and usually angry at the Church in any form. Thus Satan wins, he has gotten these deceived sheep to give sacrificially and pour their hard earned money into to these dry wells, wells that never produced the promised results.

It is not just this view on financial prosperity that is wrong, it is the faulty foundation of God having a specific will for each of our lives and that it is up to us to enter into it by our conscious efforts. The other insurmountable problem is that their endeavors are all attempts at uncovering the hidden will of God.

Because God is sovereign He does have an overarching plan for all of His creation, much of this plan is “hidden” from our knowledge. On the micro-level, how our individual lives exactly fit in to His macro plan is not revealed in Scripture to us.

This obvious fact (one only has to read) has not stopped people from teaching that we can and should know God’s hidden will for our lives in spite of the deafening silence of the Scripture. There are many methods people use to try to discern God’s hidden will for their lives. Some hidden areas that people commonly try to bring into the “light” are issues such as who should one marry, what school to attend, which job to take, where to work, buy a home, which local church to attend, etc. See if from time to time you have relied on the following techniques in the past (I admit I have).

Putting out a “fleece” we piously base this on the example of Gideon’s fleece in Judges 6:33-40. The problem with us using Gideon as our example as we put out our “fleeces” of prayer, weather, circumstances or whatever we are using to divine what the Lord’s will is that this example was an unrepeatable event. Another instance of making an “event” a doctrine is seen in the example of the Apostle Paul use of prayer clothes (Acts 19:11). There is no biblical support for such a doctrine or practice in the Church.

I was guilty of doing this when I first met Tracy. After we met, had gone out a bit, I went before the Lord in prayer and said “Lord if You want her to be in my life have her call me.” that was my fleece, the phone call – – – I was dead serious about it, I was at the time one of a small group of self-named brethren “the intense brethren” and was one of “the bachelors till the rapture.” God had mercy on my foolish ways and Tracy did call me within fifteen minutes of my prayer and we have been very happily married for almost thirty years. This is an example of God’s mercy, not a method to determine His will! What if she had not called me? What if my phone went on the blink? I guess we will never know (but I do know this, I would have chased Tracy to the ends of the earth).

Inner-Witness of the Spirit

After a (short) period of time Tracy acquiesced to become engaged to be my wife. This caused no little ripple among the members of our congregation (not to mention my family), where I was serving as the Associate Pastor. Another sister was positive she had heard from God and that I was out of His will because I was supposed to marry her. She shared her belief among the congregation and so I was faced with a decision, had I missed God? This is no small charge when considering marriage coming from the strong belief that you only get one bite at the marriage apple. Was Tracy the one, or this other one? In all honesty I could have chosen either handmaiden of the Lord, but which one was God’s perfect will for my life and here? If I choose wisely then I will have a good life with a loving mate. Miss God and I am (1) out of His will, (2) thus out of His umbrella of protection and subject to demonic attack, (3) open to the possibility of divorce since I/she am out of His will, (3) open to the possibility of divorce since I/she am out of His will. Let me stress the divorce aspect, many evangelical Christians we know have sadly gotten divorced, some will blithely say “well he or she was not God’s will for my life.” So due to this false teaching, they actually believe that their divorce was pleasing to God since now they are united with His best choice for them!!

Faced with a decision like any good charismatic extremist I turned within. Is not my body a temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 6:19) and as such I am filled with “God” and I can thus expect that He will lead me (Romans 8:14). Since I am one of Jesus’ prized sheep I will hear His voice (John 10:27). Having already had my fleece answered previously, it was not too hard to discern His voice regarding who should become my smoking hot wife, giggity giggity giggity. Naturally the other sister was sure we had missed God, but she did attend the wedding and gave us a nice frying pan that Tracy and I have used for years.

When it comes to using our inner-witness as the means to determine the will of God is that 99% of the time the Spirit” seems to lead us in the direction we had already pretty much determined to go in. Also, is there anything more subjective than listening to a voice only you can hear? People end up with arguments going on in their minds, sort of like the cartoon figures with an angel and demon on each shoulder whispering in the ear of the listener. You respond one way and it is a path of blessing, go with the wrong voice and become cursed. The inner-witness of the Spirit is tricky at best and potentially fraught with danger. That still small voice (1 King 19:12) many rely upon is in no way representative of how God leads His people. Here is an example of how wrong people can be following that inner-voice:

The Findhorn Community was begun in 1962 by Peter and Eileen Caddy and Dorothy Maclean. All three had followed disciplined spiritual paths for many years and had been specifically trained to follow God’s will. Eileen received guidance in her mediations from an inner divine source she called ‘the still small voice within’. Peter ran the hotel according to this guidance, following to the letter the instruction of the “voice” in complete faith. In this unorthodox way – and with many delightful and unlikely God-guided incidents – Cluny Hill swiftly became a thriving and successful four-star hotel.

Where did this inner-voice lead these people? Findhorn became one of the world’s leading centers of New Age occultism mixed in with some heretical esoteric form of pseudo-Christian concepts. This particular inner-voice did not lead them closer to Jesus Christ, but they are in fact are His enemies.

Open or Shut doors

God can open a door that no man can shut (Rev. 3:8). You got the job? Great, God opened the door!  Did not get hired, then He closed that door, look for an open one somewhere else! This is sort of a pragmatic approach to God’s will. Sometimes it is required of us to knock (Matthew 7:7) and keep knocking on a “door.” Work is something god has given man to do, it is honorable to work and whatever we do we are to do to the glory of God in Christ’s name (Col. 3:17). There is nothing in the bible which indicates that god has a specific dead-center of His will “job” for you or I. Sometimes persistence is required of the saint. Daniel’s answer to prayer was withheld by a demonic struggle in the heavenlies (Daniel 10:2) for three weeks, sometimes repeated knocking is required (Matthew 7:7). An example of this would be in my own life, I am still “knocking” at the Synod’s door for a call.

Dreams & Visions

Yes God revealed His will to Abraham, Joseph and Daniel and several others through dreams and visions. Is there any promise where God has said He will reveal His will for your life to you via dreams and visions (please don’t abuse poor Joel)? If you do have a dream or a vision how do you know it was from the Lord? Often the divine dream required someone else to interpret t for the dreamer (Genesis 41:8). Regarding important decisions there is nothing wrong with “sleeping on it,” as long as it is for simple mental quietude and refocusing versus seeking God’s will in a dream. Many cults have been founded on dreams, visions or apparitions of demons appearing as angels of light (2 Cor. 11:4). Any dynamic or seemingly prophetic dreams in/for your life demands a thorough biblical examination and virtually all of them can probably be traced back to some tainted mushrooms on that Domino’s extra meat pizza you ate the night before.

Personal Word from the Lord

One of the huge draws to the prophetic wing of the diffuse sign-gift movement is that these men and women claim emphatically to be in direct communication with the Ancient of Days. This is a “field” ready to be harvested financially by the wolves due to the endless stream of people seeking God’s hidden will.

We live in uncertain times politically, socially and economically things are not good and the future is unclear. People want to know the future and more specifically they want to know their own personal future and how it fits into God’s plan.

{An Aside} – It has always amazed me how the evangelicals decry the belief in the need for Mary or deceased saints to pray for the living (understandable) BUT they wholeheartedly believe in spiritual mediations in the form of the living, such as the need for Benny Hinn to lay his hands on you, an Oral Roberts to pray for you, or how you MUST be at the next meeting, etc.

Prophetic conferences are scheduled with the guaranteed promise that those who attend the prophetic breakfast or dinner (for an extra cost) at the conference will receive a word from the prophet or prophetic hosts who are there! Profit E. Bernard Jordan can be seen on cable television with his school of the prophets lying over people regarding their future marriage, jobs, income, family members, vocations, etc. Christians people pay BIG MONEY to hear from these blind guides. Although it would come as a shock to some of these Christians, but this is really nothing less than giving a fortune teller some money and having her read your palm.

The whole idea of “personal” prophecy being a means to determine where one works, whom one marries, what church to attend, how to “save” your loved ones is a fairly recent addition to the biblical concept of a prophetic utterance. It should come as no surprise in our “me” centered culture that the words flowing from darkened hearts and through the seared lips of these liars that their words would mirror our fallen culture (Luke 6:45). Great spiritual harm has come to many lives through following these revelations of God’s hidden will.

Perhaps all of us have fallen into using one of the methods in the past trying to distinguish what is and is not God’s will for your life. The problem again is in misunderstanding the concept of the will of God. As I have already alluded to earlier in this article first and foremost God’s will is sovereign. He is God and as God He is in control of all of His creation and He is under no obligation to explain His way to us. Nothing exists outside of His sustaining power. As a former Presbyterian I would cite question twelve from the Westminister Large Catechism:

Q. 12 What are the decrees of God? A. God’s decrees are the wise, free, and holy acts of the counsel of his will, whereby, from all eternity, he hath, for his own glory, unchangeably foreordained whatsoever comes to pass in time, especially concerning angels and men.

As a Lutheran I can say “this is most certainly true” regarding the tapestry of history I can attest that God is indeed in complete control, He knows the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10), nothing takes Him by surprise. This aspect of His overreaching will is often referred to as “the hidden will of God.” God has not revealed everything to us, but what He has revealed to us belongs to us and to our children (Deuteronomy 29:29) that we may fulfill His law, in the Christian’s case, fulfill His law of love (Romans 13:10). Examples of His sovereign will can be seen in Ephesians 1:11 and Job 42:2.

Before moving on in all fairness to our Reformed brethren an important distinction must be made regarding the Reformed catechism – – – it is not saying that God “causes” everything that happens to happen; if this were the case then God would indeed be the Author of sin, which he is not {James 1:13, 1 John 1:5} A succinct way to put it follows:

Rather, it acknowledges that because He is sovereign, He must at least permit or allow whatever happens to happen This aspect of God’s will acknowledges that even when God passively permits things to happen, He must choose to permit them, because He always has the power and right to intervene. God can always decide to either permit or stop the actions and events of this world. Therefore, as He allows things to happen, He has “willed” them in this sense of the word.

God has not called His people to grope about trying to determine what He has plainly hidden from us. God has revealed to us in the Bible what His will is for our lives and yet apparently this is not good enough for the Pharisees in our midst, they need to peer behind the veil. It is this type of seeking that has caused so many people great confusion in their Christian lives. Why not examine what the bible does teach is God’s will for our lives and seek His grace to enable us to be doers of what we have heard and not mere hearers only (James 1:22). In doing so what we will discover is that the false teachers proclamations, such as; “God’s will is prosperity” or “God’s will is healing” are not mentioned as part of God’s revealed will for all His children. One way to easily “spot” a false biblical teaching is when it declares a promise to only Christians who attain to it by their efforts; such a notion of a works based system is antithetical to the Gospel. Fundamentally people err in two ways regarding the will of God. First they teach that we can know and walk in the hidden will of God, others err in teaching things which are not God’s will for all His people, such as financial prosperity, physical healing and divine health.

The Revealed Will of God

I could start with the Ten Commandments (Deut. 10:4), as a revelation of God’s will, but for the sake of space, let’s accept them as a given. Any of the laws given by God in the Old Testament are examples of His will for His people. We know that the Israelites could not keep it, that in fact, no flesh will ever be justified in God’s eyes by working the law (Romans 3:20, Gal 2:16). We also know that our Lord Jesus Christ has fulfilled the law for us (Matthew 5:17; Romans 10:4). With this understanding we know that walking in the revealed will of God does not involve trying to fulfill various O.T. laws. Theologically speaking we always begin with the “plain” texts and use them to help determine the meaning of more “obscure” texts. In the case of God’s revealed will al the texts are “plain” texts, easily understood by anyone who can read. Let us focus on what we know for sure.

For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: That every one of you should know how to posses his vessel in sanctification and honour; Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not god; That no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter; because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified. For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness. He therefore that despiseth, despiseth not man, but God, who hath also given unto us his holy spirit.

Here is a perfect example of an in-your-face truth – – – God’s will for ALL Christians is that we ABSTAIN from fornication. Fornication in the Greek is which we transliterate into from which we derive our word for pornography. Naturally, Christians should abstain from viewing pornography but the term has a wider meaning. It coves all manner of sexual activity outside of marriage, not just looking at sexual images. Abstaining from fornication entails all of the mental activity that precedes the actual sexual activity. It encompasses what we think about, what we read, what movies we watch, and our verbal conversations with others (Ephesians 4:29). “Christians are to avoid and abstain from any and every form of sexual practice that lies outside the circle of God’s revealed will; Christians are to avoid adultery, premarital and extramarital intercourse, homosexually, and other perversions.”

The walk that pleases God is first defined with the words, “the will of God,” and then as “your sanctification.” With the statement, “This is the will of God,” Paul brings into focus the constant battle and a key issue going on in the hearts of men. “Will” is thelema, “what is will.” It points to the sovereign will and plan of God for the Christian. But all men by nature tend to follow the desires, thelemata, of the flesh and mind which are opposed to the will of God (see Eph. 2:3) and which can never please God (Rom. 8:8). It is not that all of those desires are evil, for many of them are God given. Sex is not evil. From the beginning God created marriage as a sacred union between one man and one woman and sex was to be a part of the union for the continuance of the race and for pleasure in marriage. What makes many of man’s desires (thelemata) evil is his self-centered commitment to follow those desires contrary to God’s will (as in adultery) and at the expense or exploitation of others. The specifics of God’s will are clearly set forth in many places in Scripture, even though Christians often seem to have a great deal of difficulty applying it in everyday decision-making (cf. 5:16-18; 1 Peter 2:15). Nevertheless, Paul describes this in general terms as “your sanctification.

In our sexually obsessed culture God’s will for His people is sexual purity before and during marriage period.

Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.

But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not ever be named among you, as is proper among saints. Ephesians 3:8

Put to death therefore what is earthly in you sexual-immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Colossians 3:5

How many para-church ministries are devoted to setting people free from pornography within the Church? Immortality among some of the best known televangelists and revivalists is scandalously well known in the world. The divorce rate within the Church mirrors that of the world, when we ought to have next to zero divorce among us if the love of Christ indeed rules and reigns in our lives. It is painfully obvious that this seemingly simply aspect of God’s revealed will takes great faith, patience and grace to walk out daily. The Holy Spirit via Paul given us further revelation of God’s will for our lives.

Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Chjrist Jesus concerning you. Quench not the Spirit. I Thessalonians 5:18

Sandwiched in between “pray without ceasing” and “quench not the Spirit” is the clarion call to give thanks in every thing. Why? Because this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning us! Note that the verse says “in” and not “for” everything which makes all the difference in our lives. Nowhere are we told to be thankful for the evil, wicked and sinful things that we bring on ourselves or that befall us. However, it does take faith true biblical faith to look up to the heavens and give thanks to God in the midst of the fiery furnace. It is easy to be thankful when things are going very well in our lives which is why I believe the Holy Spirit had Paul write in “every thing” knowing our tendency towards being only partially grateful some of the time. This is not “deep” present day truth received through praying in other tongues, but it is the stuff that sets us apart from the world; it is also a sign of spiritual maturity to exercise child-like-faith.

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind; that ye may prove what is the good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

As we saw last month, this is the text that is often cited as proof that God has three levels of His will. Without laboring the point again, the Greek simply does not support this assertion; it is an example of hyperbolic speech. One of the points of this pericope (there are several really) apart from presenting our bodies to God as a “living sacrifice” a conundrum in Paul’s day; we are as God’s people not to be conformed to this fallen world age. How? Through the practice of renewing our minds by the power of the word of God. As we feed regularly (hopefully daily) on God’s Word, hearing it proclaimed from the pulpit as well as personal study our minds begin the process of transformation. Our minds will not be fully “transformed” into the mind of Christ (1 Cor 2:16) until we receive our glorified bodies, however we are to start the process now in this life as disciples.

The entrance of God’s Word gives us light (Psl. 119:130) and as God’s Word renews our thinking we are enabled to deal wisely (Matthew 10:16) in this fallen world. To know God’s Word is to know His will (but (but you have to know it before you can do it, right?). Obviously the bridge between “knowing” and “doing” is the grace of God, as our Lord said “apart from Me, you can do nothing” (John 15:5) yet let your heart rest assured in the fact that Jesus also promised to “never leave or forsake you” (Deut. 31:8; Matthew 28:20).

In Christ Jesus we are now the children of God (1 John 3:2) and we have freedom in Christ, for it is for freedom that Christ has set us free (Galatians 5:1) – – -you are free to make the choices you want to make. God has given us His Word and the Great Teacher (John 14:26) has come to dwell within each of our hearts and we are free in Christ to either deal wisely or unwisely in the affairs of this life. I suggest you take the path of wisdom which can only be gained through the fear of the Lord. (Psl. 110:11) this golly reverence will unavoidably lead to the study, contemplation, ingestion and incorporation of the Word studied.

Brothers and sisters God has not revealed to us in His Word the specifies for our individual lives, not because He does not “care” about you individually, but because we are free to choose. Out of His great love He has given us His Word and Spirit, what more do we need to walk in God’s will? Jesus had paid the price for our sins on the cross. Now through faith in Him, He is not ashamed to call us His brothers (Hebrews 2:11) and He ministers before our Father as our Great High Priest (Hebrews 4:14) ever living to make intercession for us (Hebrews 7:25) so we do not have to live in fear of making the “wrong” choice. It is not called a walk of faith for nothing (2 Corinthians 5:7)

Let me close with another personal example. Tracy and I just purchased our first home last month. Many people are having mortgage problems, losing their homes, loan money is tight etc. Buying a home is a big decision with a ton of variables, such as the neighborhood condition currently and potentially in the future; type of homes, distance ot our church and work, utility cost, monthly mortgage payment on and on. How did we decide?

First, we prayed and asked for God to grant us wisdom (James 1:5), we’ve never bought a home, what do we know? Secondly, we researched the different variables. How much house can we afford? What do we really need in our home? What style? Then we found a Realtor who then showed me over sixteen homes. Of those I narrowed it down to 2 or 3 possibilities. Next Tracy visited the homes selected and then we decided on the one we wanted.

God did not speak to us and say “thou shalt buy this home and not that one,” nor did we have any visions or dreams. We did not “fast” over our decision. We took it to the Lord in prayer and then we stepped our trusting our Lord and purchased our home.

There is tremendous liberty in Christ, don’t let the false teachers and false brethren place you back into bondage. Allow the principles for wise living as found in the bible to be incorporated into your study and live in the liberty of our Lord.

Copyright © 2012 Robert S. Liichow